EghtesadOnline: A total of 51 foreign airlines are now operating in Iran, up from fewer than 40 before the implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Out of the 51, eight are among the top 10 airlines of the world, namely Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Emirates and Thai Airways.
A report by the Persian newspaper Iran shows that in the last fiscal year (March 2017-18), foreign airlines carried 5.37 million passengers via 40,000 flights while domestic airlines operated 46,000 international flights to transport 6.65 million passengers.
Data released by Iran Airports Company shows Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport was the busiest Iranian airport during the year, registering 143,440 takeoffs and landings and carrying over 17.45 million passengers, Financial Tribune reported.
Coming next is Mashhad International Airport that registered about 74,000 takeoffs and landings that involved more than 10.50 million passengers. Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport was the third busiest airport with 58,436 takeoffs and landings that moved 9 million passengers.
With 7,100 flights, Turkish Airlines was the most active international airline in Iran last year.
KLM moved around 33,000 passengers and accounts for about 0.7% of all passengers carried by foreign airlines in Iran.
KLM and Austrian Airlines operate an average of 178 and 1,252 flights to and from Iran per year respectively.
The former had resumed flights between Amsterdam and Tehran in October 2016, after a three-year gap. The resumption, part of a planned Air France-KLM comeback, includes four return flights from the Dutch capital per week.
Lufthansa has been conducting non-stop flights between Munich and Tehran as of July 2016.
However, last week, the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands, KLM, announced that it has decided to suspend its direct flights to Tehran as of Sept. 24. Previously, KLM operated flights to Tehran from July 1991 through April 2013. Following KLM, the Austrian Airlines announced plans for changes in its flight schedule, including a halt to flight to the Iranian cities of Isfahan and Shiraz.
Paris-Tehran flights were resumed by Air France in January 2016. The airline, however, announced in May that it was cutting its Joon subsidiary’s service between Paris and Tehran to the summer season only, blaming a poor economic performance over two years of operation.
British Airways resumed direct flights to and from the Iranian capital on Sept. 1, 2016, after four years.
A Thai Airways’ plane landed in Tehran early October 2016. The flag carrier’s launch of four flights per week substantially increased the number of Iranian arrivals to Thailand and likewise Thai visitors to the Islamic Republic.
Kazakhstan’s Air Astana launched a new non-stop flight from Almaty to Tehran late June 2016. Flights operate three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and served by Embraer 190 aircraft.