The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has announced it has removed the temporary ban for Iran/Iraq overflights which had been introduced last month.

The decision to change its advice follows a meeting of the Integrated EU Aviation Security Risk Assessment Group on January 28 to assess the most recent safety and security information for commercial flights over Iran and Iraq. The meeting's outcome has seen the withdrawal of the temporary recommendations issued by EASA and the European Commission on January 8 in which they advised against overflying Iraq, and on January 11, recommended avoiding Iran altogether.

With the latest safety and security information now available, the Group reaffirmed the position stated in the current published Conflict Zone Information Bulletins (CZIB) for overflights of Iran and Iraq airspace. CZIB-2017-04R5 for Iraq advises airlines to avoid overflights of Iraq except in two specific air corridors. CZIB-2020-01R0 for Iran advises against overflights of Iran at levels below 25,000 feet.

Many airlines, including Vietnam Airlines, Emirates and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which transit this part of the Middle East on flights predominantly between Europe and Southeast Asia were having to re-route services via more lengthy flight paths which sometimes involved a tech-stop for fuelling en route.

In a related matter, the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) has removed the temporary revocation of IranAir's air permit, meaning that the carrier can resume flights between Sweden and Iran. The cessation was imposed on January 10 following the IRGC's shooting down of a Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) B737-800 on January 8.

"The Swedish Transport Agency took the decision in a situation where it could not foresee civil air traffic being conducted with an acceptable level of security," Gunnar Ljungberg, Director of Maritime and Aviation at the Swedish Transport Agency, said. "Since then, the course of events surrounding the plane crash has cleared. The Swedish Transport Agency has been in contact with the Iranian authority and has received assurances that all necessary safety measures will be taken."

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, Iran Air previously flew to Sweden 3x weekly with its A330-200 equipment; once weekly to Gothenburg Landvetter and 2x weekly to Stockholm Arlanda.