EghtesadOnline: The number of flights operated by Iranian airlines in the last fiscal year (March 2018-19) fell by 14% compared with the year before to stand at 218,900, the secretary of the Association of Iranian Airlines said.
“The total number of air passengers reached 25.8 million last year, registering a decline of 16% year-on-year. Last year, a total of 178,705 flights were carried out on domestic routes, which show a 13% decrease compared with the year before,” Maqsoud Asadi-Samani was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
The official noted that the number of passengers on domestic flights dropped by 15% to stand at 20.7 million.
International flights, including flights for hajj and other Muslim pilgrimage sites, fell by 19% last year to stand at 35,196. The number of people flying internationally was around 5.12 million during the year ending March 20, registering a 19% decline compared with the year before, Financial Tribune reported.
“The number of international flights, except for flights for hajj and other Muslim pilgrimage sites stood at 28,642, indicating a 19% decrease over the year before.
Over four million people buckled up for flights to international destinations, except for hajj and other Muslim pilgrimage sites, last year, which shows a 20% decrease year-on-year.
In the same year, the number of flights operated by Iranian airlines specifically for hajj and other Muslim pilgrimage sites dropped by 21% to hit 5,927. The number of passengers taking flights specifically for hajj and other Muslim pilgrimage sites stood at 1.02 million, registering a 21% decline year-on-year.
Asked about the reasons for the decline in air travel, Asadi-Samani said, “The inevitable fare hikes in the wake of foreign currency crisis as well as last year’s increase in departure tax have caused hundreds of Iranians to avoid air travel.”
The rial lost about 60% of its value against the dollar last year.
Departure tax, paid by tourists traveling overseas, increased almost threefold in the year ending March 20, 2019, compared with the preceding year’s rate to reach 2.2 million rials ($15.2) with the exception of religious trips, which remained the same as last year’s fee—375,000 rials ($2.5) for air travel and 125,000 rials (around 86 cents) for road travel.
More comprehensive data previously released by Iran Airports Company show a total of 427,803 takeoffs and landings were registered last year (March 2018-19), which shows a 14% decrease compared with the previous year.
A total of 51.67 million passengers and 515,228 tons of cargos were transported during the period, indicating a 16% and 14% decline respectively year-on-year, IAC's latest data published on its website show.
The latest IAC report shows 357,411 takeoffs and landings were made by domestic flights, down 13% compared with the year before. More than 41.43 million passengers and 315,566 tons of cargo were transported domestically, both indicating a 15% decline YOY.
On the international front, 70,392 takeoffs and landings were registered, down by 19% YOY. A total of more than 10.24 million passengers and 199,661 tons of cargo were transported to and from overseas destinations, posting a 19% and 13% decrease respectively compared with the year before.
Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport was the busiest Iranian airport last year with 126,030 takeoffs and landings, registering a 12% fall YOY.
More than 14.82 million passengers and 102m949 tons of cargo were handled at this airport to register a 15% decline in each category YOY.
Mashhad International Airport was the second busiest airport with 60,335 takeoffs and landings, indicating an 18% decrease. It transported more than 8.82 million passengers and 86,086 tons of cargos, indicating a 16% and 9% decline respectively YOY.
Imam Khomeini International Airport registered 47,446 takeoffs and landings to register a 19% fall, while transporting 7.27 million passengers and 141,704 tons of cargos to rank 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.