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With a very successful Iranian president visit to U.S. and UN, there is a possibility direct flights between U.S. and Iran will resume in near future. Worth looking at history and pondering how Iran Air was once one of the top airlines in the world, and even marketed heavily in U.S., through TV and print.
In the mid-1970s Iran Air, the government-run airline, was “one of the most important players in world aviation.” It was considered one of the fastest growing airlines, and also one of the safest, and in 1976 introduced one of the world’s longest nonstop routes: New York to Tehran on new Boeing 747 jumbo jets. It’s that flight that is promoted in the classic television commercial embedded below:
Here’s the TV spot’s transcript:
Well, here we are in Tehran, the exciting capital of Iran. I boarded this new Iran Air 747 special performance jet in New York City. The nonstop flight took exactly 11 hours and 15 minutes, and we flew one mile higher than other jets, so we had an unusually smooth flight.
I enjoyed the excellent food, the first-run movie, Persian hospitality, and even slept a little. Now refreshed and relaxed I am ready to explore Tehran and all the other pleasures that can be found in the land of 1,001 nights.
Let Iran Air take you on a journey to adventure you will never forget: to romantic, exciting, breathtaking Iran.
Iran Air: We Take You There, We Take You Back.
Iran Air’s PR push in the United States even briefly included Marion Javits, wife of then-New-York-senatorJacob Javits, who was hired by the airline as a publicity consultant. In early 1976, it was reported tha Mrs. Javits, a senior vice president at public relations firm Ruder Finn, had “registered with the U.S. Justice Department as an agent of a foreign government” in connection with her Iran Air role. Less than two weeks later, she bowed to pressure and removed herself from the job due to “public concern that her position might have undue influence on her husband.”
A planned Iran Air nonstop route between Los Angeles and Tehran never materialized due to the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which also put an end to the New York-Tehran link-up. The last New York to Tehran flight flew on November 7, 1979, and the final Tehran-to-New York flight, on November 8, 1979, was diverted to Montreal. Due to sanctions that prohibit it from purchasing modern aircrafts from the West, Iran Air actually today still uses some of the vintage planes that used to fly the New York-Tehran route during its heyday.
This story originally appeared on AsiaSociety‘s Asia Blog.
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