Iran says at least 1,400 planes cross its skies everyday – an announcement that a top military official in Tehran says is a proof of the country’s airspace security for regional and transregional airliners.
“Today, Iran has been chosen [by airliners] as the safest air corridor in the Middle East,” Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of Iran’s Air Defense Force, was quoted as saying by the domestic media.
The official added that over 700,000 international flights carrying a collective of above 50 million passengers had used Iran’s skies over the past Iranian calendar that started 21 March 2016.
Official figures show around 450 planes crossed Iran’s skies every day in 2014. However, the insurgency that Daesh militants waged in Iraq as well as the conflict in Ukraine pushed the number up to as high as 900 planes per day the next year, marking an increase of 100 percent.
The diplomatic crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and its allies forced the tiny Persian Gulf state to use Iran’s airspace for its international flights.
Accordingly, officials said this introduced an increase of 20 percent in Iran’s air traffic.
The rise in Qatar’s use of Iran’s airspace has also provided the Islamic Republic with extra air transportation fee revenues. To the same effect, the domestic media said Iran was entitled to at least $13 million per month in air traffic fees.
In June, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the UAE closed their airspace to the Qatari planes after they cut diplomatic ties with the country, accusing the latter of supporting terrorism.