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Iran Air cleared to resume flights to Europe

Following successful ‘technical assessment,’ most of national airline’s planes allowed to fly into continent

In this Sunday, March 2, 2008 photo, two passenger planes of Iran's national air carrier, Iran Air, are parked at the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
In this Sunday, March 2, 2008 photo, two passenger planes of Iran's national air carrier, Iran Air, are parked at the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iranian flag carrier Iran Air has been taken off a safety blacklist and cleared to fly in the European Union, the European Commission said Thursday.

“Following my visit to Iran in April, a technical assessment was successfully carried out in May,” EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said in a statement.

“Based on this I am happy to announce that we are now able to allow most aircraft from Iran Air back into European skies,” Bulc said.

Previously, only the carrier’s EU-manufactured Airbus planes could operate in the bloc.

A Commission official said that while most of Iran Air’s fleet has now cleared to fly in the EU, its Fokker 100 and Boeing 747 planes remained banned.

The company website says the airline operates 16 Fokker 100 planes, a short-haul aircraft dating back to the 1980s, and 5 Boeing 747 jumbo jets, all older versions.

Iran’s air safety record has been spotty, with parts nearly impossible to get for the country amid world sanctions over its nuclear program.

The EU move comes just months after Iran Air signed deals to buy new more than 100 Airbus planes. It has also been considering deals with US aerospace giant Boeing.

The signing of the nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran has allowed airline manufacturers back into the Iranian market.

Bulc on Thursday also said the 28-member bloc had removed all Zambian airlines from the safety blacklist after “seven years of work and extensive European technical assistance.”

In addition, three Indonesian carriers — Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air — plus Air Madagascar were given the all clear to fly in the EU.

The Air Safety List is updated regularly and with Thursday’s announcement, it names 214 airlines in 19 countries which fail to meet EU oversight standards.

Two other airlines are banned on safety concerns — Iraqi Airways and Suriname’s Blue Wing Airlines — while another six are partially restricted in the aircraft types they can fly in the EU.

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