Netanyahu lauds European airlines for ending Iran flights, says more will follow
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Netanyahu lauds European airlines for ending Iran flights, says more will follow

‘That’s good,’ says PM in Vilnius, as Air France and British Airways join KLM in discontinuing service to Tehran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Lithuanian counterpart address a press conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, on August 23, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Petras Malukas)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Lithuanian counterpart address a press conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, on August 23, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Petras Malukas)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday applauded European airlines British Airways, KLM, and Air France for discontinuing their service to Iran.

The British and French carriers announced earlier in the day that they would end their flights to and from Tehran next month, citing low profitability as the US reimposes sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Dutch airline KLM — part of the same group as Air France — said last month that it was also suspending Tehran flights due to “negative results and financial outlook.”

“Today we learned that three major carriers, BA, KLM, and Air France have discontinued their activity in Iran. That’s good,” Netanyahu said at a press conference in Lithuania with his counterpart Saulius Skvernelis.

“More should follow, more will follow, because Iran should not be rewarded for its aggression in the region, for its attempts to spread terrorism far and wide, in the Middle East, into Europe … and to many other places in the world,” Netanyahu added.

Illustrative photo of an Air France plane. (photo credit: CC BY Andres Rueda, Flickr)
Illustrative photo of an Air France plane. (photo credit: CC BY-Andres Rueda/Flickr)

Air France, which had run connections to the Iranian capital via its low-cost operator Joon, has said it will 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 also announced that it was scrapping its London to Tehran service as it was “currently not commercially viable.”

Illustrative photo of a British Airways 747 passenger jet. (Ken Fielding/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)

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 prompted many foreign businesses to pull out of the country.

The United States said in May that it was abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions on Tehran in two phases in August and November.

The other parties to the nuclear deal — Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia — have vowed to stay in the accord, but their companies risk huge US penalties if they keep doing business in Iran.

AFP contributed to this report.

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