By The Free Iranian Staff
In April, an Airbus A340-600 from Mahan Air landed in Venezuela’s capital Caracas. On board was a delegation from Tehran, there to discuss with the Venezuelan government the start of joint venture between Tehran and Venezuela. The Venezuelan Foreign Minister then announced that the partnership would kick off within a few month. To date, the controversial Iranian airline has not flown any regular flights.
Ramón Velásquez, head of the state-owned Venezuelan airline Conviasa, told Prensa Latina news agency, that the airline will expand the range of flights to Europe and the Middle East. This will be possible through an alliance with Iran’s Mahan Air which will fly to several destinations, such as Syria or Turkey, also Rome and from there, Russia and China, also Iran itself. He did not name a timetable.
Conviasa currently flies only with Embraer E190
Conviasa had to suspend operations for some time due to currency problems in spring 2017. The Spanish charter airline Wamos Air, which had flown on behalf of the Venzolaner with a Boeing 747-400 of Caracas to Madrid, announced the contract at that time. Meanwhile, Conviasa is back in the air.
The airline currently operates destinations in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Cuba. Intercontinental does not fly it yet. For that you also miss the planes. According to various databases, Conivasa has a Boeing 737-200 and 12 to 16 Embraer E190 in the fleet. Only eight Embraer planes were active in the past several weeks.
Mahan Air is banned from landing in Germany
By contrast, Mahan Air has long-haul jets with its Boeing 747 and Airbus 340, which can cover the 11,770-kilometer stretch between Tehran and Caracas without a stop. Currently, they head for destinations such as Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur or Beijing, and in Europe, Rome, Milan and Barcelona. In addition, they are despite their size on domestic routes in Iran on the road.
In Germany, France and the US, Mahan Air is not welcome. The airline has been known to transport IRGC and Quds force commanders, as well as and Hezbollah terror leaders, into war zones in the Middle East. In July 2018, the United States Department of Treasury, named Mahan Air “an Iranian airline previously designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism.”