Iran's half-empty planes fly back and forth to bring back citizens from abroad
TEHRAN,Iran, May 6
Iran continues to bring back its citizens from abroad, secretary of Association of Iranian Airlines Maghsoud Assadi Samani told Trend.
"Flights will be based on demands and the cooperation of the embassies is in place as well, however usual flights are still not permitted," he said.
"It is expected that Iranian citizens would return back to the country by flights from Spain, Austria, Slovakia," Samani added.
"So far more than 14,000 people have returned to the country, but the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development has the precise statistics," he said.
"These airlines are facing losses since they fly half-empty to bring back the citizens of Iran, but considering the necessity, they're are obligated to do so," Samani added.
"The cost of flight for an empty plane will not be charged for passengers, and they would pay for one way ticket," he said.
The official said that the amount of flights has been reduced by some 80 percent, and the domestic flights depend on the market demands.
Iran is bringing back its citizens from other countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan - which is an international transport hub - began at a fish market in late December 2019.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11 declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Some sources claim the coronavirus outbreak started as early as November 2019.
Iran continues to monitor the coronavirus situation in the country.
The country continues to apply strict measures to contain the further spread. Reportedly, the disease was brought to Iran by a businessman from Iran's Qom city, who went on a business trip to China, despite official warnings. The man died later from the disease.
The Islamic Republic only announced its first infections and deaths from the coronavirus on Feb. 19.