EghtesadOnline: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has decided to suspend its direct flights to Tehran as of Sept. 24, the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands wrote on its website on Saturday, citing “commercial reasons”.
“As a result of the negative results and financial outlook for the Tehran operation, the last flight will take off from Amsterdam on Sept. 22, 2018, and land at Schiphol on 23 September,” reads a post on news.klm.com.
Passengers with a ticket for a flight from Amsterdam to Tehran or vice versa on or after Sept. 24 will be transferred to the most suitable alternative or financially compensated, it added.
Diplomatic relations between Iran and the Netherlands showed signs of fraying after the Dutch secret service AIVD announced on Friday that the Netherlands had expelled two staff members of the Iranian Embassy, without providing further information, Financial Tribune reported.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry reacted by summoning its Dutch ambassador to Tehran.
A Saturday report by IRNA quoted the ministry’s spokesman, Bahram Qasemi, as saying the “unfriendly measure” by Dutch government was “irrational and illegal” and that Iran reserved the right to reciprocate.
“Instead of expelling Iranian diplomats, the Dutch government should explain why it has harbored members of a terrorist organization,” Qasemi said, mentioning the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, which is linked to the Paris-based group calling itself National Council of Resistance of Iran.
The MKO was once listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union but not anymore.
KLM resumed flights to Iran after a three-year hiatus back in 2016.
Carrying a Dutch trade mission, headed by Minister of Infrastructure and Environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen, on board, a KLM flight landed in Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on October 23 at 00:05 Tehran local time.
The resumption, part of a planned Air France-KLM comeback, included four return flights from the Dutch capital per week.
Previously, KLM operated flights to Tehran from July 1991 through April 2013.