Economy, Domestic Economy

International Flights on the Rise

International Flights on the RiseInternational Flights on the Rise

As negotiations between Iran and world powers get close to a final deal to end a dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program and to consequently remove western sanctions imposed on Iran’s aviation industry, recent reports show a pickup in the number of international flights to and from Iran.

Below is a review of the newly established flights by foreign and domestic airlines:

  Int’l Airlines

Emirates Airline announced on Friday that it will launch a new service to the city of Mashhad in northeastern Khorasan Razavi Province as of September 1, Arabian Business reported.

Dubai-based Emirates said in a statement that it will operate services to Mashhad—which is the second largest city in Iran and attracts more than 2 million foreign visitors per year—with five weekly services using an Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

Besides passenger operations, Emirates SkyCargo will offer 17 tons of cargo capacity each way between Dubai and Mashhad on the A330-200.

Also on Tuesday, IRNA quoted Chief Executive Officer of Iran’s Airports Holding Company in East Azarbaijan Province Mostafa Safaei as saying that Turkish Airlines have launched direct flights between Tabriz in East Azarbaijan Province and the Turkish city of Izmir.

Tabriz is a hub for flights from Turkey, Iraq and the UAE connecting to Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Ahvaz, Shiraz, Bandar Abbas, Asalouyeh, Kish and Kerman in Iran.

Atlas Global Airlines is another Turkey-based airline that has launched new flights to Iran. According to director general of Rasht Airport in northern Gilan Province, Fattah Rezvani, the new flight was launched on July 9 between Rasht and the Turkish city of Istanbul.

Greece’s Aegean Airlines should also be added to the list of international airlines operating flights to Tehran.  Donyaye Safar website earlier reported that beginning on July 23, the airline will fly passengers between Tehran and Athens. Aegean is the largest Greek airline in terms of passengers carried and fleet size, as well as the number of destinations served.

  Domestic Airlines

Director general of Kish International Airport, Kourosh Fattahi, said in late June that international flights to Kish Island in the first three months of the current Iranian year (started March 21) experienced a 33-percent rise compared to the same period of last year.

He added that the number of international flights, including departures and arrivals, reached 714 within the span of three months, adding that plans are underway to set up flights to Oman’s capital Muscat and Bahrain’s capital Manama.

Kish Free Zone Organization has announced plans to further raise the number of international flights to and from the island.

Late in June, head of tourism affairs at Kish Free Zone Organization, Mohammad-Moheb Khodaei, announced that new flights will be launched between the Iraqi Kurdistan cities of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah and Kish as of mid July.

According to Khodaei, the organization’s broader project is to establish new direct flights from Kish to countries all over Asia, Middle East and Europe.

Mahan Air also seems to be preparing for a prosperous future, as it recently added nine Airbus aircraft to their fleet to increase the airline’s capacity.

In March, the airline launched direct flights from Tehran to the German city of Munich, Mahan’s second German destination (in addition to Düsseldorf) and its third to Europe (joining Istanbul). Mahan also services routes to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Furthermore, Taban Airlines was mentioned last week by Asadollah Asgaroladi, head of Iran-Russia Chamber of Commerce, among the domestic airlines preparing to launch international flights.

He said the chamber had held negotiations with the airline to establish new flights between Rasht and the Russian city of Astrakhan to promote tourism and trade.

  Future Plans

Deputy head of Iran Civil Aviation Organization, Mohammad Khodakarami, said on Monday the organization is to sign memorandums of understanding with other countries on aerial transportation to further increase flight services.

Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying that since regional flights have more growth potential, it is necessary to expand flights to neighboring countries.

The government has recently put in a great deal of effort to improve Iran’s aviation industry by establishing infrastructures for the airports and renovating the domestic air fleet.

Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi earlier announced that Iran’s air fleet will be overhauled in the near future.