Iran’s government is set to enter discussions for establishing air services to Saudi Arabian destinations, according to Iranian civil aviation authority chief Mohammad Mohammadi Bakhsh.

He told the Iranian Labour News Agency that discussions would centre on scheduled services – notably on the Tehran-Riyadh trunk route – as well as pilgrimage flights, in order to expand air transport co-operation.

Air services would mark a step towards improved relations between the two Middle Eastern states whose geopolitical relations have been strained. Saudi Arabia took part in the 2017 blockade of Iranian ally Qatar, which included a ban on Qatar Airways access.

Iran Air A330-c-Mark Harkin Creative Commons

Source: Mark Harkin/Creative Commons

Tehran-Riyadh services are among the subjects for discussion

Riyadh hosted an ICAO air services negotiation event – ICAN 2023 – over the first week of December, in which an Iranian delegation participated.

Bakhsh, who is also a senior figure in the Iranian roads and urban development ministry, says there are “no restrictions” regarding the launch of direct flights to Riyadh, and potentially between other city pairs in the two countries.

He told ILNA that a specialised working group will be set up to conduct talks, and address the various aspects, and will begin its tasks within a few days.