An Emirates Airlines Boeing 777-300ER plane prepares to take off.REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

The state-owned Emirates Airline has discontinued its Dubai-Mashhad flights, citing business considerations and a sharp drop in ticket sales.

Informed sources believe that the government-owned low-cost airline airdubai (Dubai Aviation Corporation) will replace Emirates. The airline’s fleet of smaller Boeing 720 will be more cost-effective than the Emirates’ wide-bodied Boeing 777.

[aesop_image img=”” panorama=”off” align=”center” lightbox=”on” caption=”Reuters ” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

It will reportedly offer four flights a week from Dubai to Mashhad. The privately-owned Iranian airline Mahan Air also provides Mashhad-Dubai round-trip flights.

Emirates opened its Dubai-Mashhad corridor in 2015. The service provided a much-needed boost to Mashhad’s economy, according to the city’s airport authorities. However, the volatile foreign exchange market has scared many customers away and caused a sharp drop in ticket sales.

Some experts speculate that the move by the Emirates is directly related to the new set of U.S. sanctions that will go into effect in early November. British Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Air France halted all their flights to Iran in September.

Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi