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Qeshm Airlines Eyes European Destinations

Qeshm Airlines Eyes European DestinationsQeshm Airlines Eyes European Destinations

Qeshm Air has outlined its proposed European operational network weeks after it secured its Third Country Operators license from the European Aviation Safety Agency.

The TCO license allows non-EU registered airlines to operate flights to the European Union and Switzerland. Qeshm Air is the fourth Iranian airline to be granted TCO authorization, after national flag carrier Iran Air, Mahan Air and Aseman.

Qeshm Air CEO Mahmoud Shekarabi was quoted by YJC as saying that from the northwestern city of Tabriz, Qeshm Air would ideally serve Hamburg, Germany, as a matter of priority.

“To achieve that goal, the cooperation of Tabriz Municipality is necessary,” he said.

“The carrier is looking to tap into growing tourism demand in East Azarbaijan Province.”

Shekarabi noted that pending regulatory approval, Qeshm Air will also seek to serve Brussels, Paris, Cologne, Bonn, Amsterdam and Stockholm.

Operations will likely be on board one of the carrier’s three A320-200s or five A300-600Rs. In a recent interview with Arabian Aerospace, Shekarabi confirmed Qeshm Air’s plans to acquire widebody jets “like the A330”.

“Preference would be given to aircraft of between six and eight years with leasing terms running for up to 10 years,” he said.

With the formal lifting of western-backed economic sanctions against Iran in January, Qeshm Air also plans to place orders directly with aircraft manufacturers.

At present, the carrier is looking to dispose of its four mothballed Fokker 50s and even its four ARJ-100s and one ARJ-85.

The CEO added that the BAe Systems quadjets’ removal may, however, be deferred, given the unavailability of suitable replacement aircraft.

The airline is reportedly aiming to grow its fleet by more than 50% this year and is looking to foreign banks to lend a hand.

“Nobody around the world buys aircraft with cash. We are the same. So we are looking for the financing [deals],” Shekarabi told Arabian Aerospace. “We have some financers internally [in Iran], but we prefer to get it from abroad.”

Initial overtures to foreign banks have already prompted “enthusiastic” responses, the Qeshm Air CEO said, while declining to name the institutions or countries involved.

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