Iran is working on establishing a new service between Tehran and Sarajevo via Belgrade, the Iranian Chairman for the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said following talks in the Bosnian capital. The matter will be further discussed later this month during a visit by the Iranian Foreign Minister to Belgrade. Negotiations concerning the service launch began last year with both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia initiating the abolishment of visa restrictions for Iranian nationals. The two former Yugoslav states have already taken steps for the Tehran flights to materialise this year. European carriers have been ramping up their operations to Iran as the country emerges from international isolation and sanctions, which were lifted a year ago.
Iranian officials noted that the establishment of direct flights between Tehran and Sarajevo would help promote tourism and boost economic and cultural ties. Iranian carrier Mahan Air planned to launch services from Tehran to Sarajevo via Istanbul in 2010. However, the flights never materialised. Sarajevo Airport's General Manager, Armin Kajmaković, recently said, "There are plans for new flights to the Middle East but we are still in the early stages of negotiations. Our analysis, which is undertaken on a regular basis, shows there is certainly room to expand in that area". Qatar Airways plans to launch services to Sarajevo later this year, joining Air Arabia and Flydubai which maintain services from the region to the Bosnian capital.
Last year, the Serbian national carrier said it was considering introducing services to Tehran in cooperation with Iran Air. The Chairman of the Air Serbia Supervisory Board, Siniša Mali, noted, "We will undertake a feasibility study and hold talks with Iran Air over potential expenses on the route. I firmly believe that it is very important for direct flights to be introduced in order to fuel cooperation between Serbia and Iran. With the introduction of our flights to New York, we have observed a considerable number of people from the United States travelling to this region and Belgrade, and from there on to other countries". Montenegro Airlines is set to become the first carrier from the former Yugoslavia to introduce services to Iran, with the company to run a one weekly service between Podgorica and Tehran this summer.