Economy, Domestic Economy

Iran Could Host More Foreign Airlines

Iran Could Host More Foreign Airlines
Iran Could Host More Foreign Airlines

A growing number of foreign airliners have expressed interest in operating in Iran, the national civil aviation organization has reported.

According to IRIB news agency, 33 foreign airlines are active in Iran, which transported three million passengers in the previous Iranian year (ended March 20, 2014), ICAO announced.

The safe and secure airspace of Iran hosted more than 47,900 domestic, international, and passing flights in the month of Mehr (September 23-October 22, 2014), without experiencing any security problems, registering 35.3 percent rise (or 12,519 flights) increase, compared with the same period last year, Ebrahim Shoushtari, deputy head of ICAO for aeronautical operations told MNA on Friday.

“More than 13,494 domestic flights were conducted in the same month, which shows a 3.9 percent decrease compared to the same period last year,” he said. However, “during this time, the number of overflights stood at 26,935, which recorded a 79.1 percent rise.” The country hosted 6,722 international flights showing 20.2 percent increase compared to the same period last year, he added.

The number of commercial aircraft using Iranian airspace appears to have doubled in the last year, mostly because of insecurity in Iraq and Ukraine.

International airlines including Air France, Virgin Atlantic, Delta and United suspended flights over Iraq in July prompting an immediate rise in traffic.

A newly released one-day snapshot suggests that a previous upward trend has increased.

The number of overflights was also 32 percent higher in the six months to October 2014, compared with the same period a year ago.

The demand is a welcome source of foreign exchange revenues for sanctions-hit Iran -- the payments are sanctions exempt, according to US Treasury regulations.

Iran, which charges between $50 and $2,000 per overflight depending on the weight of the plane, has created new routes to handle the increased traffic, Ebrahim Shoushtari, deputy director for operations at Iran Airports Company (IAC) said.

“After requests from airlines to use Iranian airspace because of the events in Iraq and Ukraine, we created five new air corridors. We now have 96 corridors,” he added.

Figures in August showed overflights up a quarter following a surge by IS terrorists in Iraq, and after Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down above rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.