Iran Air 727 crash comes months after blacklisting

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Iran Air's loss of a Boeing 727-200 outside of Orumiyeh is the first serious accident involving the flag carrier since much of its fleet was blacklisted by the European Commission last year.

While there have been no conclusions drawn about the loss of the trijet (EP-IRP), which had been operating to Urmia on 9 January, the accident has nevertheless focused attention on Iran's safety standards, notably those at the country's premier airline.

Orumiyeh airport had been experiencing heavy snow and reduced visibility at the time of the arrival from Tehran. Both flight recorders have been retrieved, but the Iranian civil aviation organisation has released little information on the circumstances of the crash.

The location of the wreckage, however, several kilometres to the south-east of the airport, appears to coincide with the missed approach pattern to Runway 21 - consistent with preliminary reports of a go-around. Almost 30 of the 93 passengers and 12 crew members on board survived the accident.

Iran Air's blacklisting followed an EC examination of its operations in the first half of 2010, which concluded that the airline was "failing to address the basics in terms of the continued airworthiness of its aircraft", adding that this was "particularly evident" in its 727, 747 and Airbus A320 fleets.

The carrier had also been unable to provide a consolidated list of incidents occurring to its flights and was "not in a position to gauge the overall safety performance" - although the Iranian authority was able to show it carried out "detailed investigations" of all significant incidents.