British Airways, Air France join airline exodus from Iran

FILE – In this Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 file photo, British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport during a 48hr cabin crew strike in London. The head of British Airways has urged the government to move immediately to shorten the long lines regularly faced by passengers arriving at Europe’s largest airport, Heathrow. In a letter to the Times of London on Monday, Aug. 6, 2018 CEO Alex Cruz says that two-hour lines are the norm for non-European travelers. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)

Air France and British Airways announced Thursday that they will halt flights to Tehran next month, citing low profitability as the US reimposes sanctions on Iran.

Air France, which had run connections to the Iranian capital via its low-cost operator Joon, said it would ax the route on September 18, blaming “poor commercial viability”.

The French carrier had already cut down on its Paris to Tehran connections from three a week to just one earlier this month, its communications service said.

British Airways had announced shortly earlier that it was axing its London to Tehran service as it was “currently not commercially viable.”

The last outbound flight to Tehran will be on September 22, and the last inbound flight from Tehran will be on September 23, the British flag-carrier added.

British Airways said its decision was unrelated to US President Donald Trump’s imposition of new sanctions on Iran, which has affected foreign businesses operating in the country, with many pulling out altogether.

The airline jumped back into the country in September 2016 after a long absence, offering six flights per week.

Thai Airways, Malaysia-based Air Asia X and UAE carrier Etihad have all also pulled the plug on their Iranian operations this year.

Dutch carrier KLM said last month that it was also suspending Tehran flights due to “negative results and financial outlook”.

The airline said it was in discussions with partner airlines to offer customers rebooking options, or would offer full refunds.

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