Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) and the Dniproavia airline have not been assigned new air routes to Iran. A commission of the State Aviation Service made the relevant decision on Friday, 27 May, the CFTS reports.

The commission refused to assign new air routes to Dniproavia because it has a debt of UAH 136,700. The airline applied for permission to operate Dnipropetrovsk-Tehran flights once per week. Andrii Huk, a partner at the Ante law firm, believes that there is another reason for the refusal to assign new air routes to Dniproavia – the absence of agreements to increase the frequency of the flights. "In this case, Dniproavia is asking for routes to Iran, but it is not included in any of the memoranda. Even if the airline had no debt, it would still have been denied," he said.

UIA applied for a second air route to Iran (UIA currently flies to Tehran). It planned to operate flights from Kyiv to the Iranian city of Shiraz three times a week. The debt issue was not taken into account during consideration of UIA’s application because of a court decision.

Despite this, the State Aviation Service rejected UIA’s application. The State Aviation service based its decision on the current intergovernmental agreement between Ukraine and Iran (dated 9 July 1993). At the same time, the airlines cited a memorandum (dated 21 June 2014), which provided for increasing the frequency of flights between the two countries. The State Aviation Service believes that implementation of the provisions of the memorandum requires additional decisions. As the State Aviation Service’s press service told the CFTS portal, the Ukrainian side is currently preparing to sign the relevant documents, which will increase the frequency of flights between Ukraine and Iran.

Lawyers have various assessments of this situation. "There is a court decision that established that the memorandum between Ukraine and Iran has entered into force and should be implemented. in accordance with this memorandum, the number of flights has been increased because you have no reason to dismiss Ukraine International Airlines’ application," Oleh Bondar, a managing partner at the ECOVIS Bondar & Bondar law firm, who represented Ukraine International Airlines, said at the meeting of the commission. 

Huk retorted, saying that final agreement has not yet been reached on the issue of increasing the frequency of flights. "There are intergovernmental agreements and the State Aviation Service has no right to change them. As of today, it is a disputed issue. There is no final decision that stating that the memorandum is in effect or that the State Aviation Service is obliged to make such decisions to accommodate UIA," the lawyer said.

The agreement on air links between Ukraine and Iran was signed on 9 July 1993. Talks on amending the current agreement were held in Tehran on 21 June 2014. A memorandum of mutual understanding on air transport was signed following a meeting between the two parties. In addition, agreements on temporary application of the provisions of the memorandum to assignment of air routes to airlines, the frequency of flights, and the geography of flights were reached. Full introduction of the memorandum requires the signing of a number of documents, which are already being prepared.