Iranian authorities say air taxi services would be allowed for the first time in the country as demand for short-haul, on-demand services increase amid American sanctions that have affected the aviation industry.
An official in Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said on Sunday that several companies had obtained initial permits for launching air taxi services across the country.
Morteza Dehghan said that regulations over the issue had been eased to allow import and operation of commercial aircraft capable of carrying 10 to 15 passengers.
He said the new laws are also meant to prevent major Iranian airlines and aviation companies from creating a monopoly in the provision of air taxi services.
“If someone wants to launch a company solely for air taxis, he would not need to have a fixed capital, technical and commercial structures, and other requirements like a full-service airline,” Dehghan told the ISNA agency.
The official rejected claims that the launch of air taxi services in Iran would face serious difficulties because of the sanctions imposed on the country.
“There is no problem for the import of various aircraft including private jets,” he said, adding, “The companies and individuals would import the aircraft under any circumstances and even at the current difficult situations.”
The launch of air taxi services comes as many Iranian airports are currently running at low capacity.
Officials say more than 90 percent of domestic flights are processed via 15 major airports and 60 more airports are operating at super-low capacity.
The new services could also be seen as a bid to offset the impacts of the American sanctions on Iran’s aviation industry as Washington keeps preventing major global plane manufacturers to deliver aircraft ordered by Iran over the past few years.