Iran direct flights to US
Iran mulling direct flights to US as aviation officials await formal green signalReuters file photo

Iranian aviation officials are waiting for the green signal from top authorities to resume direct flights to the US after the economic sanctions imposed on the country are eased.

The possibility of direct flights between Iran and the US after a moratorium that has been in place for over three decades has emerged in the wake of the landmark nuclear deal signed in Vienna, which paves the way for gradual lifting of sanctions.

Iranian aviation officials say they are technically prepared to resyme flights but need the go-ahead from the political leadership.

"Iran's aviation fleet is equipped with long-range planes that can make direct flights to the US without having to stop and refuel anywhere," said Mohammad Khodakarami, interim chief of Iran's Civil Aviation Organisation (CAO), according to the country's Press TV.

"Once the [diplomatic] authorisations to do so are issued, CAO will start following up the other aspects involved in this issue."

Iran recently hinted at purchase of aircraft to replace its ageing fleet. The West-engineered aviation sanctions prohibiting Iran from buying new planes and some spare parts had made it close to impossible for the country to procure new aircraft.

"With regards to the issue of the removal of sanctions, several global plane makers from different countries have presented proposals for cooperation to Iran," Khodakarami told reporters.

"Those proposals – that range from sales of planes to Iran to sales of airport facilities – have been submitted to the relevant institutions and are already under study."

Western plane manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing are reportedly keen on bagging aircraft orders worth billions of dollars as soon as Iran emerges out of the economic clampdown.

"There are a lot of aircraft that are really at the end of their lives, Iran is going to be a very hot market as and when sanctions are lifted," Maximo Gainza, senior consultant at the Britain-based fleet watcher Ascend Flightglobal, told Reuters when Iran was on the verge of striking the nuclear deal.

In September 2013, President Hassan Rohani, a moderate cleric who took over in August of that year, sounded out Iranian officials on the prospects of resuming flights to the US.