Iran’s Homa to resume flights to Italy’s Rome after ban on rival airline
Iran’s flag carrier Homa, known internationally as IranAir, will resume flights to the Italian capital Rome after rival airline Mahan Air was banned from the European country’s airspace.
According to Press TV, Homa’s public relations office said on Thursday that flights between Tehran and Rome will be launched after a hiatus as of December 2, 2019 to respond to demands of the Iranians living abroad.
Flights between Tehran and Rome are scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays each week, said the statement, adding that Homa’s schedule for flights to Milan in northern Italy, conducted on Tuesdays and Fridays, will remain unaffected.
The announcement comes several days after Iranian aviation authorities confirmed that the Italian government had banned Mahan Air, Iran’s second largest airline, from the country’s airspace under direct pressure from the United States.
Italian officials said earlier this week that flights by Mahan to Rome and Milan would stop in mid-December.
The ban comes nearly two months after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid a visit to Rome urging Italian government to comply with Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Iran and to stop accommodating Mahan flights.
The US government has imposed sanctions on Mahan Air, accusing it of providing services to the IRGC, Iran’s elite military force which has also been blacklisted by Washington.
Both Mahan Air and the IRGC have dismissed the American sanctions as futile and non-effective.
The US government has imposed a raft of economic and security sanctions on Iranian government and associated entities since it withdrew from an international deal on Tehran’s nuclear program last year.
Italy is the third major European country after Germany and France to ban Mahan Air. No similar decision has been made against the IranAir.