Regional airlines snub demand by Iran to rename Gulf

02 March 2010

Carriers refusing to use the term Persian Gulf to be banned from Tehran’s airspace

Gulf-based carriers say they are unaffected by the recent announcement from Iran demanding that airlines in the region use the term Persian Gulf when referring to the waterway between Iran and the Gulf states.

The issue has not appeared to affected regional airlines with Dubai-based airline Emirates saying the area remains unmarked on its website.

“In our inflight magazine and on our website, the area in question has not been labelled as the focus is on our destination cities,” a spokeswoman for the carrier told MEED.

However, it is not clear how the airline refers to the waterway on its onboard monitors on Iran-bound flights.

Sharjah-based budget carrier Air Arabia says the airline does not name the gulf at all on its on-board flight maps, according to a spokesman.

Bahrain-based Gulf Air, Bahrain Air and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways declined to comment on the issue.

Qatar Airways, which does refer to the waterway between southern Iran and the Gulf states as the Arabian Gulf, rather than the Persian Gulf on its website, also declined to comment.

Iran’s Roads and Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani said on 22 February that “airlines of the southern Persian Gulf countries flying to Iran are warned to use the term Persian Gulf on their electronic display boards”, according to a statement on IRNA, Iran’s state news agency.

If they do not, the airlines will be banned from Iranian airspace for a month the first time and upon repetition, their aircraft will be grounded in Iran and flight permits to Iran will be revoked, the minister said.

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