Iran's largest airline spread coronavirus

Mahan Air operated dozens of flights daily across Middle East and to and from China during pandemic, spreading virus throughout the region

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Mahan Air
Mahan Air

According to an investigation by the BBC News Arabic, Iran's largest airline, Mahan Air, continued to operate dozens of daily flights to various destinations around the world even while flight bans were being put into effect, helping to spread the coronavirus in the Middle East.

The investigation reveals that many countries, including Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Lebanon, and others, gave Mahan Air landing permits at their airports between the end of January and the end of March, even though local governments had prohibited other Iranian airlines from landing at their airports.

Mahan Air employees told the BBC that "Dozens of Mahan Air flight crews have shown symptoms of coronavirus, and as they try to draw attention to how airline executives are handling the crisis and supply of safety equipment, they have been silenced. In doing so, they risked the lives of the crews and passengers of the airline."

The sources also said that the first two cases of coronavirus discovered in Iraq and Lebanon were people arriving on a flight from an Iranian flight. In addition, from January 31, when the Iranian government imposed a ban on flights to China, Mahan Air was the only Iranian company to continue flying to and from China until April 20, helping to "import and export" coronavirus patients from China to Iran and vice versa.

At least 157 flights from Iran to China have taken place in recent months. Mahan Air is one of the companies to which the Trump administration has sanctioned for airline's ties with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.