0320 GMT October 22, 2020
The kingdom's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) issued the order Monday night, saying in a statement it banned the airline over "systematic violations" of the country's safety regulations and laws.
“This decision comes in the context of the GACA (regarding) the safety of passengers and to preserve their lives,” the statement said, Reuters reported.
Riyadh is apparently taking steps to thwart Tehran’s return to the world oil market after the ending of Western sanctions. Iranian oil tankers are being stopped from entering ports in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the FT reported on Monday, quoting shipping data.
Due to these obstacles, by mid-April only about eight tankers will have sailed from Iran for Europe according to shipbrokers, the newspaper reported. The transported cargo is only 12 million barrels.
IRNA quoted civil aviation official Ebrahim Moradi on Tuesday as saying Iranian airlines currently have no flights to Saudi Arabia and would use different routes to fly to Africa.
Moradi explained that following the severance of relations with Saudi Arabia, two of Iran’s airlines namely Iran Air and Mahan which had regular flight schedules from Iran’s Mashhad to Dammam in Saudi Arabia stopped their programs.
He stressed that none of Iranian companies are currently flying to Saudi destinations.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3 following demonstrations outside the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad by angry protesters who condemned the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
Iranian officials strongly denounced the incidents. Over 150 people involved in the incidents were also arrested.