EghtesadOnline: Iran Airports Company logged 360,754 takeoffs and landings during the first ten months of the current fiscal that ends in March, down 14% compared to the same period last year.
More than 43.33 million passengers and 433,052 tons of goods were handled in the period, indicating 17% and 15% decline respectively year-on-year, IAC data published on its website show.
The decline in airport traffic has increased compared to IAC's previous data, which registered 327,803 takeoffs and landings during the first nine months of the current fiscal (March 21-Dec. 21), down 13% compared to the similar period of last year.
More than 39.45 million passengers and around 396,050 tons of cargo were transported during the nine-month period, indicating a 17% and 15% decline respectively year-on-year, Financial Tribune reported.
Notably, 4,411 international flights were registered during the month to Jan. 21 to register a 26% decline in traffic compared to the similar period last year.
A total of 611,336 passengers and 13,241 tons of cargo moved to and from overseas destinations in the one month, posting 22% and 14% decrease respectively year-on-year.
The IAC report says 299,803 flights were made by domestic airlines during the ten months, down 13% compared with the similar period last year. Close to 33.46 million passengers and 261,034 tons of cargo were transported domestically, indicating a 17% and 16% decline YOY.
On the international scene, 60,951 flights were logged, down 18% YOY. A total of 8.88 million passengers and 172,017 tons of cargo were transported to and from overseas destinations, an 18% and 13% decrease respectively compared to last year.
Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport was the busiest Iranian airport during the ten-month period, with 105,385 flights, 13% decline.
More than 12.28 million passengers plus 84,732 tons of cargo moved from this airport in the south of the capital that handles domestic and hajj flights.
Mashhad International Airport was the second busiest with 52,187 flights, indicating an 18% decrease. It moved more than 7.57 million passengers and 73,867 tons of cargo.
Imam Khomeini International Airport further south of Tehran, logged 41,250 flight, down 18%. It transported over 6.3 million passengers and nearly 121,866 tons of cargo to be ranked third on the list of Iran’s busiest airports.
Iran Airports Company is an arm of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development that manages 54 airports across the country.
The downturn in overseas flights is in part attributed to the fact that international airlines wound down their business in Iran after the United States last May abandoned the nuclear deal Iran signed with the six world powers (including the US) in 2015.
The US withdrawal, criticized by Washington’s major European allies and the international community, threw a spanner in the works of Iran's burgeoning aviation sector. International airlines, which had resumed services following the nuclear deal, pulled out of the Islamic Republic.
British Airways ended its five times weekly services to IKIA in August to join Air France and KLM that had previously announced their withdrawal on their routes from Paris CDG and Amsterdam.
The US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the nuclear deal, which was followed by the reimposition of "toughest sanctions ever" on Iran has also undermined Iran’s economic landscape.
It has hurt the people's purchasing power, devalued the national currency, pressured household expenditures and made them rethink travel plans in and outside the country.
Qatar Airways Flying to Isfahan
Qatar Airways is expanding its operations in Iran. Most recently, the airline started a direct flight between Doha and Isfahan last week.
The state-owned flag carrier is to operate two flights a week (Mondays and Fridays) using an Airbus A320 from Doha International Airport to Isfahan International Airport.
One of the top 10 airlines, Qatar Airways is capable of connecting Isfahan airport to 160 destinations, said Hassan Amjadi, director general of Isfahan Airports Company, adding that Isfahan's Shahid Beheshti Airport is the fourth domestic airport hosting flights from the Qatari company.
In fact, Qatar Airways new corridor to the world famous tourist city comes on top of the airline's other destinations in Iran, namely Tehran, Shiraz and Mashhad, the Qatari newspaper The Peninsula reported.
The new service has 12 seats in Business Class and 132 in Economy Class.
Qatar Airways flies to Europe, North and South America, Central Asia, Far East, Oceania and Africa.
Isfahan airport currently handles flights to Najaf, Baghdad, Kuwait City, Dubai, Istanbul and Tbilisi.
“With its incredible, age-old architecture and bustling traditional bazaars, we are thrilled to announce Isfahan as Qatar Airways’ fourth-service gateway into Iran,” Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said earlier.
"Isfahan is a city that is not only steeped in history, but one that has also emerged in recent years to combine its rich cultural heritage with modernity, making it one of Iran’s most fascinating, colorful and lively places for international visitors. We are also delighted to announce that we are increasing our weekly services to both Shiraz and Tehran in January."
Al Baker said the latest launches are further evidence of Qatar Airways’ commitment to Iran, which will provide greater connectivity to both business and leisure passengers.
Qatar Airways has been flying to Tehran since 2004 and with the introduction of the two extra flights, the airline will be operating a total of 20 weekly non-stop flights from and to the Persian Gulf Arab state.