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British Airways Eyeing a Return to Iran

With Iran taking the first steps to rejoin the international community, British Airways is poised to take advantage of an explosion in demand for travel to the country long considered a part of the “axis of evil.”

British Airways is looking to capitalize on increasing demand to Iran and is reportedly considering reinstating flights from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA). The U.K. flag carrier has not offered direct service between the two capital cities since the route was abandoned in 2012.

“We are very interested in flying to Tehran and we are hopeful that it will form part of BA’s network in the very near future,” Head of IAG, British Airways’ parent company, William Walsh told a gathering of industry leaders in Dublin last week, according to a report in the Telegraph. “We are actively looking at it as a destination.”

The anticipated easing of international sanctions on Iran under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached to prevent the country’s access to nuclear weapons has fueled a boom in travel demand to and from the once isolated state. British Airways is not the only business actively looking to take advantage of the previously limited travel market.

After years of crippling international sanctions, Iranian officials are planning a huge investment in their own commercial aviation industry. Iran is looking to add as many as 500 new commercial aircraft – a prospect carefully watched by both Boeing and Airbus. The Iranian government has also reportedly petitioned the U.S. government to allow direct flights between John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and IKA.

“We think [we need] about 100 short-range fleet for our local flights. And for international flights about 400 fleet, who can do the middle and long-range flights,” Iran’s Minister of Transport Abbas Akhondi told CNN. “Iran will compete in 5 to 7 years with all the major regional airlines.”

[Photo: Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, Wikipedia]

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