Tehran, Apr 8: Eight years after US had banned Mahan Air in 2011 for allegedly transporting military equipment to Middle East war zones, the country's second-largest carrier on Monday officially launched direct flights between Tehran and Venezuelan capital Caracas, a senior official said.
Iran's Civil Aviation Organization Reza Jafarzadeh said that the route was launched in the early hours of Monday, with the first flight taking off from Tehran’s International Imam Khomeini Airport to the Venezuelan capital.
He noted that the plane took off with the Iranian foreign minister's aide and the director of the Foreign Ministry Department for the Americas, Mohsen Baharvand, and his delegation on board, who are set to hold political talks with the Venezuelan officials on the current situation in the South American country, according to Mehr news agency .
According to Jafarzadeh, a delegation from Mahan Air is also traveling to Caracas to discuss the conditions of maintaining regular flights between the two countries. The non-stop Tehran-Caracas flight will take 16 hours.
Mahan Air, which is Iran's second-largest carrier after Iran Air was established in 1992. It is Iran’s first private airline and has largest fleet of aircraft in the country.
The US blacklisted Mahan in 2011 after accusing it of providing support to Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The carrier recently halted flights to Germany and France due to US sanctions over its military transport flights to Syria, where Iran supports President Bashar Assad’s forces. (UNI)