Nonstop Flights Between The US And Iran Could Soon Resume

Filed Under: Other Airlines

On Sunday I wrote about the massive airplane order Iran Air is in the process of placing, for 127 planes. This includes eight A380s and 16 A350s. While Airbus has been struggling with selling the A380, I figured another airline would eventually place an order for it. However, I didn’t expect that airline to be Iran Air! This will help them replace their extremely outdated fleet, which includes A300s, A310s, Fokker 100s, and even a 747SP.


All of this news came after the announcement last week of sanctions being lifted between Iran and the US/Europe.

I joked that I figured Iran Air would first fly the A380 to Los Angeles, given that it’s already nicknamed “Tehrangeles.” In addition to having to wait for their more modern planes to be delivered, this would also require the two countries to negotiate terms for an air agreement. But it looks like that might not be quite as far off as some might expect, as negotiations are already underway.

Via Haaretz:

Iran and the United States are negotiating the terms of restarting commercial flights between the two countries after a suspension of nearly 36 years, the Iranian Foreign Ministry confirmed Monday.

“The matter is currently being examined, and the result of the negotiations will be announced at the appropriate time,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Jaber Ansari said.

Iranian Transportation Minister Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi and the country’s civil air traffic authority are leading the talks on the Iranian side, the newspaper Shargh reported.

Millions of Iranians who live in the U.S. have had to travel through Europe or Dubai before transferring to flights destined for Tehran. Iranian President Hassan Rohani has offered to make direct flights possible again.

It’ll be interesting to see if they can come up with an agreement, or if politics/precedent gets in the way. On my last post, reader Simon indicated that Los Angeles to Tehran is the single largest transatlantic local market without a nonstop flight, with in excess of 140,000 annual passengers. While I can’t independently verify that, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

Bottom line

I’m curious to see what comes of the negotiations of air agreements between the US and Iran. Assuming Iran Air follows through with this order of 127 new planes, this could be one of the most impressive airline turnarounds we’ve seen in a long time. Unlike Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar, Iran Air actually has a huge local population to serve in their home market, so I guess we’ll see if politics, history, and policy gets in the way of them becoming a global carrier.

Do you think we’ll see an air agreement between the US and Iran anytime soon?

  1. I’ve heard Westwood area around Westwood Blvd and maybe once or twice Beverly Hills and Pico -Robertson referred to as Terhangeles, but not the whole city. It’s a small minority.

  2. I’m not too sure this will happen in an election year. Congress will certainly throw up all kinds of road blocks.

  3. @Brian – maybe maybe not the die is already cast with Iran and the US. They are already working out US Cuba flights.

  4. While it’s true that there are many thousands of Persians in Los Angeles, many of them having fled Iran while the Shah was ousted and the Ayatolla’s took over. I think many of them prefer not to set foot in Iran, so long as the Ayatolla’s are in charge there.

  5. Talking with friends in the US State Dept, they don’t see this happening anytime soon until the US and Iran have more formalized diplomatic relations. Right now the US uses Switzerland to represent American interests in Iran.

    It seems unlikely that the US gov would allow non stops to country with whom we have no diplomatic relations. I’d expect an embassy first then flights eventually after that.

  6. Please google overthrow of mosadegh. Americans through their representatives have a lot of blood on their hands but like dumb, ignorant drama queens act like they are all saintly and holy virgins.

  7. Yes, Mossadegh’s ouster planted the seeds of the current regime (just as the US invasion of Iraq under false pretenses planted the seeds of ISIL). And yes, I remember IR655, over a hundred innocent civilians slaughtered. The Iranians took over the US Embassy and held hostages,criminal actions, but they didn’t kill anyone.

  8. I had to map it after you said LAX-IKA was a transatlantic route. For some reason, I thought it was TPAC from the west coast, TATL from the east, but damn does that thing go right over the pole:

    I bet the view out the window is very cool. In any case, do a lot of Persians visit Iran regularly? My only point of reference is a friend who is afraid to go because he came over to the US as a child and never did his military service. Don’t a lot of first generation Iranian-Americans have that issue as well, since Iran considers them its citizens?

  9. I ‘d like to be able to visit Iran in the next 5-10 years. The Arabs and Persians are not quite similar. Neither the language nor religion. However, they are not straightforward and perhaps less honest. If you ever visit Iran, go to the cities that are famous for their hand-made Persian rugs, such as Isfahan or Tabriz. They are gorgeous. But it is also the dying trade because sometimes the technique requires fingers of nine, ten year old kids to weave it.When you watch news out of six gulf states that features official visits to the area, pay attention to the gigantic Persian carpets on the floor. Hopefully, none of its cities turn out like Dubai so that they can maintain their uniqueness and culture.

  10. Oh, please. Let’s not act like the Islamic Republic of Iran doesn’t have crusted, thick layers of blood on its hands. I know it is trendy and fashionable to bash the US but it is simply comical to pretend that the present Iranian regime is some sweet, innocent victim.

    Having said that, I am in awe of the vibrancy of Iranian culture and hospitality. I would love, love, love to visit Tehran once again. And to visit Isfahan and Persepolis! The draw of Iran’s treasure trove of cultural and natural attractions would almost ensure the success of a nonstop flight between the US and IKA.

    It is time for the US and Iran to get past the heated extremist dialogue found on both sides and reestablish a relationship. Many Iranians want this and Americans could only benefit.

  11. I am guessing for the A388 they will use them for LHR/LGW, YYZ and LAX. Maybe a 777 (rumored order) for SFO, IAD and EWR/JFK.

  12. @Craig – “maybe maybe not the die is already cast with Iran and the US. They are already working out US Cuba flights.”

    The die is FAR from cast. There are any number of things that could happen to derail this. Iran and Cuba are NOT the same thing.

  13. Lucky: Not so fast. As Flyerguy pointed out, the U.S. does not even have diplomatic relations with the Islamic Persian Empire. Second, consider Vietnam, although we’ve had official diplomatic relations with the entrenched communist Hanoi regime we have not allowed them to fly to the U.S. (although they might start soon) – gotta pass muster on safety, etc. Iranian aviation is a shambles, a uber terrible safety record, and, yes, some of it is probably attributable to old aircraft, lack of parts, but mainly it’s due to poor maintenance and lack of piloting skills. So for Iran to take the leap to an A350 or 787 and fly tomorrow to L.A. or D.C., N.Y.C. to service the hundreds of thousands of that wealthy diaspora is a fantasy – not that you said ‘tomorrow’, but even 5 or 10 years might be too soon. It’ll come down to formal relations established, followed by congressional/FAA approval, and pressure from Boeing, of course. Lots of hoops and years to go through. Please consider that Thai Airways was spared – again – by the European Air Safety Agency from being barred from flying in the E.U. due to their maintenance and safety environment. Garuda was barred for a while. So, for Iranian commercial aircraft to suddenly flood U.S. skies is a recipe for disaster.

  14. NYC or WAS to the any of the south Indian metros of HYD,BLR,MAA and even CCU is surely an equal or much larger market than LA to Teheran without a TATL nonstop in terms of annual passenger count. That’s 4 out 6 major airports in India.

    (Unless I misunderstood that 140000 statistic.)

  15. “The Arabs and Persians are not quite similar. Neither the language nor religion.”

    Well, yeah, except for the Arabs who are Shiite. And the Persians who are Sunni. Yes, both groups exist. And lets not forget some of the Christians from both groups.

    But anyway, lots of similarities and differences between Arabs and Persians.

  16. @Aaron

    Persians (Iranians) are Shi’te and Arabs are largely Sunni. But it’s not so clear cut in places like Iraq, whose people are ethnically Arabs but are majority Shi’te.

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