Iran’s main airline company Homa, known as IranAir, has suspended until further notice all flights to European destinations, with aviation authorities in the country blaming ‘unknown restrictions’ for the decision.
The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran said in a Sunday report that Homa was negotiating with European authorities to resume the flights.
It did not mention whether the spread of a new coronavirus in Iran and other parts of the world had a role to play.
However, secretary of the Association of Iranian Airlines said that European restrictions on Homa’s flights had nothing to do with the coronavirus, Presstv Reported.
Maqsoud Assadi Samani said that the bans have been enacted in line with “the Americans’ pressure on the Iranian aviation industry”.
“That shows that Europeans have been following the US on this (particular) issue,” said Salmani, adding that all flights by Iranian airlines except one by the Mahan Air to the Spanish city of Barcelona have been suspended.
Homa had already suspended its flights to destinations in more than six countries in the Middle East because of a variety of reasons, including the coronavirus.
The company said in its Sunday statement that passengers will be able to receive full refunds on their flight tickets to the European destinations.
The Iranian health ministry said on Sunday that the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country had increased to 6,566 while adding that 194 people had died of the virus since it began in the country on February 19.
That comes as global health authorities and governments have hailed Iran’s response to the outbreak at a time the country faces mounting economic pressure due to the American sanctions.
Iran’s domestic air travel has also been hit by the spread of coronavirus, with airlines reporting record low demands for major destinations.
Iran’s airport’s authority has put in place some strict controls in the points of departure including individual screening of the passengers.