The tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran have recently gone into a further phase when the countries today severed its diplomatic ties. After last year’s denial of several Iranian aircraft in the Saudi airspace, the Iranian airlines Iran Air and Mahan Air are now fully banned in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia reported on 23rd of December 2015 that these two Iranian airlines did not comply with ICAO’s safety standards, and is therefore as of now banned in Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, today Iran can for sure say farewell to flights to Saudi Arabia and likewise. How the Iranian airlines will react on the cancellation of pilgrime flights to Saudi Arabia and how Saudi will backlash is something we will see soon.
Saudi Arabia has now given the Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the land within, reports tell that a Mahan Air aircraft will pick them up at any time.
Update: Saudi Arabia has banned all its citizens from travels to Iran, Iran hasn’t made an official statement but is likely to do the same. Iranian pilgrimes are still welcomed to visit the holy sites in Mecca and Medina, but the number will probably decrease significantly.
Flights between Iran and Saudi Arabia are mostly being operated during the pilgrime seasons. Saudi Arabian Airlines, Iran Air and Mahan Air share the most of the traffic to major cities like Tehran, Shiraz, Tabriz, Mashhad, Gorgan, Lar, Isfahan and Ahwaz.
Mahan Air has reportedly cancelled Mashhad – Dammam flights.
Photo: Aeropixels Photography