|Iran Air to end technical stops in Ljubljana and Belgrade|
Iran Air is to cease its refuelling stops in Ljubljana and Belgrade on flights from Western Europe in the coming weeks. After four years of US-led sanctions against Iran, which restricted most European airports from providing jet fuel to the country’s airlines, the airports in both Germany and the Netherlands recently began to refuel Iran Air jets. As a result, stops in the capitals of Slovenia and Serbia will no longer be necessary. French airports will also resume refueling Iranian planes in a few days with more countries to follow. Most Iran Air jets flying out of Tehran must take off with a full tank and less cargo than they normally would carry. Unable to complete the return flight, they are forced to make stopovers in Ljubljana or Belgrade to refuel. Insiders even report that the airline's jets are being flown at slower speeds to save fuel. This extra stop adds to Iran Air’s costs and means passengers face about ninety extra minutes before reaching Tehran. Ljubljana and Belgrade have permission to refuel Iran Air jets since they do not have direct flights to the United States.
While the move to provide fuel to Iran Air aircraft at key European airports will be welcomed by both the carrier and its passengers, Ljubljana and Belgrade are set to lose easy cash. Most Iran Air flights from London make a stop in Ljubljana on their way to Tehran and these are set to continue for the time being. On the other hand, refuelling stops in Belgrade were mostly for flights originating from Germany and these are now expected to be discontinued. Passengers and crew on the Iran Air flights landing in both Ljubljana and Belgrade do not disembark the aircraft and no one is allowed to board either. Officials at Iran Air believe they are the innocent victims of geopolitics. "This is a human rights violation", complained Jamalodin Zavichi, Iran Air's Germany manager in Frankfurt. "Passengers are being forced to suffer from inconveniences despite the fact that they have nothing to do with the political conflict".
|Iran Air at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport|
Oil companies are technically permitted to sell kerosene to Iran Air under the current regulations. The sanctions are only applied once sales volumes exceed five million US dollars per year. But no major oil company has been willing to conduct those sales out of fear of angering the Americans and adversely affecting their business operations in the United States. With US-Iran relations improving, oil companies have begun easing their bans. In 2011, Belgrade Airport informed Iran Air it could no longer provide refuelling services without giving a reason to the carrier. It is believed the Serbian government and the country’s fuel supplier came under outsde pressure to do so. However, Belgrade Airport began providing services to Iran Air again in late 2013. In November 2011, Adria Airways attempted to sell its Airbus A320 to the Iranian airline Yas Air but leaked diplomatic cables show it received a stern warning from the United States to immediately halt such plans.