EghtesadOnline: Iran Airports Company registered 394,932 takeoffs and landings during the 11 months to Feb. 19, which shows a 14% decrease compared with the similar period of last year.
A total of 47.59 million passengers and 474,794 tons of cargos were transported during the period, indicating a 17% and 14% decline respectively year-on-year, IAC's latest data published on its website show.
During the 10 months to Jan. 21, 2019, the downturn in airport traffic remained almost unchanged compared to IAC's previous data that registered 360,754 takeoffs and landings.
A total of 43.33 million passengers and 433,052 tons of cargo were transported during the 10-month period, indicating a 17% and 15% decline respectively YOY, Financial Tribune reported.
Notably, 4,636 international takeoffs and landings were registered during the month ending Feb. 19 to register a 21% decline in traffic compared with the similar period of last year. A total of 674,394 passengers and 13,388 tons of cargo were transported to and from overseas destinations in the one-month period, posting a 19% and 9% decline respectively YOY.
The above figures show an improvement compared with the previous month that ended on Jan. 20, as 4,411 international takeoffs and landings transported 611,336 passengers and 13,241 tons of cargo, showing a 26%, 22% and 14% decline respectively compared with the month before.
The latest IAC report also shows 329,345 takeoffs and landings by domestic flights during the 11-month period, down 13% compared with the similar period of last year. Close to 38.04 million passengers and 289,388 tons of cargo were transported domestically, indicating a 16% and 15% decline respectively YOY.
On the international front, 65,587 takeoffs and landings were registered, down by 18% YOY. A total of more than 9.55 million passengers and 185,405 tons of cargo were transported to and from overseas destinations, posting an 18% and 13% decrease respectively compared with the corresponding period of last year.
Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport was the busiest Iranian airport during the period, with 116,004 takeoffs and landings, registering a 12% fall.
More than 13.58 million passengers and 94,145 tons of cargo were handled at this airport, showing a 16% and 15% fall respectively YOY.
Mashhad International Airport was the second busiest airport with 56,314 takeoffs and landings, indicating an 18% decrease. It transported more than 8.21 million passengers and 80,175 tons of cargos, indicating a 16% and 9% decline respectively year-on-year.
Imam Khomeini International Airport registered 44,277 takeoffs and landings to register an 18% fall, while transporting close to 6.78 million passengers and nearly 131,392 tons of cargos to be ranked third on the list of Iran’s busiest airports. The figures show a 19% and 14% decline YOY.
Iran Airports Company is an arm of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, which manages 54 airports across the country.
Int'l Airlines' Departure
The downturn in international flights is partly due to the fact that international airlines wound down their businesses in Iran after the United States last May unilaterally pulled out of the nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers (including the US) in 2015.
The withdrawal of US from JCPOA, criticized by the international community, threw a spanner in the works of Iran's expanding aviation sector. International airlines, which had resumed their services following the nuclear deal, pulled out of the Islamic Republic one by one.
British Airways ended its five times weekly services to Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport in August to join Air France and KLM, which had previously announced withdrawal from their respective 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 the Islamic Republic has also deteriorated the economic climate of the country. It has reduced people's purchasing power, devalued the national currency, pressured Iranian households' expenditures and made them rethink their plans to travel both internationally and domestically.
Qatar Airways Expands Iran Services
Nonetheless, Qatar Airways is expanding its operations in Iran. The airline started a direct flight between Doha and Isfahan last month.
The state-owned flag carrier of Qatar is to operate two flights a week on Mondays and Fridays using an Airbus A320 from Doha International Airport to Isfahan airport.
One of the top 10 airlines, Qatar Airways is capable of connecting Isfahan's airport to 160 destinations, Amjadi said, adding that Isfahan's Shahid Beheshti International Airport is the fourth Iranian airport hosting planes from the Qatari flagship airliner.
In fact, Qatar Airways' new route to Isfahan comes on top of the airline's other destinations in Iran, namely Tehran, Shiraz and Mashhad, Qatar's daily newspaper The Peninsula reported.
The new service features 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's airport currently flies 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 noted that the latest launches are further evidence of Qatar Airways’ commitment to Iran, which will provide greater connectivity to both business and leisure passengers alike.
Qatar Airways has operated flights 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 Doha.