Gulf Air has announced the cancellation of services to Iran and Iraq amid the civil unrest that has led to a state of emergency being declared in Bahrain (The National, 17-Mar-2011). Services to Iran have been suspended until 21-Mar-2011 while services to Iraq have been suspended until 18-Mar-2011.
Gulf Air cancels services to Iran and Iraq during strife
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Iran CAPA Aviation Summit – hope turns to frustration, but optimism remains as growth abounds
When CAPA – Centre for Aviation held its first conference in Iran at the end of Jan-2016 the atmosphere was primarily one of optimism. Immediately preceding the conference the expectation was that Iran and the West would move to rapidly reverse decades of estrangement. The first round of sanctions against Iran had come down – in line with the historic 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the ‘5+1’ powers – and major airlines and aircraft manufacturers were coming to the table.
While it was acknowledged that progress on major deals was not going to happen overnight, the hope was that as layers of sanctions came down, Iran would be embraced by the rest of the world. In return, Iran was expected to open itself up progressively to foreign trade and investment, and to travel.
The road ahead was perceived to be one that was both a very different, and far easier, one than the one Iran had already travelled. Aviation in particular was a sector that was expected to shine and lead the way for a new era for the country.
CAPA Iran Aviation Finance Summit, Tehran, 18-19 September 2016. A top level forum for discussion
No-one doubts the potential for expansion of Iran's aviation industry. After decades of exclusion from much of the world's aviation system, the country is eager to take an appropriate place that reflects its well educated population, its geographically important location and a potentially valuable tourism industry.
However, despite lifting of many sanctions, there remain several hurdles and uncertainties to overcome before some semblance of normalcy can be regained. The financial sector is central to most of these issues and securing a degree of certainty and transparency of process in international financial markets will be essential to stimulating new growth. Aircraft and related orders are ready to be implemented, but much hangs on decisions that must be made at a political level, across a range of disciplines.
The September Summit in Tehran will bring together many of the key decision makers and global experts in the area.