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Air India Express halts Tehran flight plans after Donald Trump vs Iran tensions

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-02-2017 Anurag Kotoky

New Delhi: Air India Express, the low-cost unit of the South Asian nation’s flag carrier, has put on hold a plan to fly to Tehran amid renewed tensions between the US and Iran after President Donald Trump imposed fresh sanctions on the Persian Gulf country.

Since some of Air India Ltd.’s plane purchases were funded by the Export-Import Bank of the United States, it won’t be able to fly to places where the US government imposes sanctions, K. Shyamsundar, the airline’s chief executive officer, told Rishaad Salamat in a Bloomberg Television interview in Singapore on Tuesday. The carrier may now fly to Bahrain via Doha instead, he said.

The US, pursuing a harder line on Iran, slapped penalties on a raft of individuals and companies in response to the country test-firing a ballistic rocket last month. While it isn’t clear if the US will tighten the measures, Iran’s foreign minister on Sunday mocked being “put on notice” in a tweet by Trump.

Shyamsundar declined to comment further on the potential impact of Trump’s policies.

Air India in 2005 ordered 68 Boeing Co. 777, 787 and 737 jets, and the Exim Bank provided it with $3.4 billion in guarantees and other support. The lender provides backing for Boeing aircraft purchases by airlines unable to tap conventional credit markets. Bloomberg

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