Head of the Association of Iranian Airlines (AIA) said on Sunday that Mahan Air’s flights to the Italian cities of Rome and Milan will continue until the end of the next month in the Iranian calendar year which falls on December 21, 2019.
Masoud Assadi Salmani said that Italy’s decision to ban Mahan Air was clearly influenced by American pressure, adding that the move came as part of broader US sanctions targeting Iran’s aviation industry.
“Italy, under pressure from the US, stopped Mahan Airline’s flights to this country,” said Assadi, according to remarks covered in the IRIB News.
The AIA chief said flights by Iran’s flag carrier Homa to Italy will continue as before while Mahan Air routes to other European countries would remain unaffected.
Pompeo pressures Italy to ban Iranian airlineTop US diplomat Pompeo calls on Italy to avoid renewing flight licenses for Iran’s Mahan Air.
Assadi said planes that used to fly to Italy would not be grounded as Mahan Air plans to use them in other international routes.
Italy’s air authority ENAC said on Saturday that Mahan Air flights to Rome and Milan will stop altogether in mid-December.
Italian officials had earlier indicated that they might succumb to the American pressure and stop accommodating flights by Mahan, a company that has been blacklisted by Washington over alleged links to Iran’s elite military force the IRGC.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said in early October and after a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Rome that his government would follow two other European countries of Germany and France to impose a ban on Mahan Air.