EghtesadOnline: Indian carriers are either reviewing or stalling their plans to start flights to Iran, as the Donald Trump-led US government hardens its stance on the Islamic Republic, ratcheting up diplomatic tensions.
Air India Express is now taking a second look at its plans to start flights to the capital city of Tehran initially slated for later this year, Indian daily newspaper The Economic Times reported.
The carrier has alternative plans ready—Delhi-Tashkent-Almaty or Delhi-Doha-Bahrain—if geopolitical conditions make it difficult to start operations to the country. The plans, however, have not been dropped yet. Air India Express is the low fare international subsidiary of state-run Air India.
Even low-fare carrier Go Air, which was planning Tehran as one of its initial overseas destinations, has stalled those plans for now. The airline plans to start international flights later this year, Financial Tribune reported.
Last year, Jet Airways had made plans to fly to Tehran but put them on hold before some clarity emerged on who would lead the US government and which way it would move. The plans are now on the back burner.
The Trump government is said to be considering a renewal of sanctions—cutting trade and aid—on Iran after it recently tested a mid-range ballistic missile.
The plans follow Trump’s far reaching decision of temporarily banning the citizens of Iran and six other Muslim countries from entering the US.
International sanctions on Iran were lifted in 2015 under the Barack Obama administration, after a nuclear pact under which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program.
India, under the Narendra Modi government, has been trying to strengthen relations with Iran but any kind of ties with it may antagonize the US government, said experts.
There are tactical problems, too. Air India Express operates US plane-maker Boeing’s planes. The biggest chunk of Jet’s fleet is also Boeing-made.