EghtesadOnline: Latest data released by Iran Airports Company show international air traffic in Iran is beginning to experience growth after the spread of coronavirus brought significant slump in both passenger and cargo sectors.
The IAC data show the number of international takeoffs and landings, as well as the handling of passengers and cargo, during the fourth month of the current Iranian year (June 21–July 21) saw a 100%, 89% and 100% increase respectively compared with the preceding month.
In case of domestic flights, takeoffs and landings increased by 2% while the handling of passengers and cargos fell by 2% and 11% respectively compared to the previous month.
The total number of takeoffs and landings during the month under review saw a 3% rise in comparison with the preceding month.
However, the total number of passengers and the volume of cargos handled during the period witnessed a 2% and 6% decline respectively month-on-month.
In the fourth Iranian month (June 21-July 21), a total of 21,767 takeoffs and landings were registered, which indicate a 28% decline compared with the similar period of last year.
More than 1.94 million passengers and 14,328 tons of cargos were transported during the month, indicating a 45% and 51% YOY drop respectively.
The report shows 21,552 takeoffs and landings were registered by domestic flights from June 21 to July 21, down 23% YOY. Over 1.93 million passengers and 12,960 tons of cargo were transported domestically, indicating a 39% and 44% decrease respectively YOY.
On the international front, 215 takeoffs and landings were registered, showing a 91% decrease YOY. A total of 8,605 passengers and more than 1,367 tons of cargo were transported to and from overseas destinations, indicating a 97% and %78 fall respectively YOY.
Iran Airports Company is an arm of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, which manages 54 airports across the country.
Iran Airports Company registered a total of 65,444 takeoffs and landings during the first four months of the current Iranian year (March 20-July 21) to register a 41% decline compared with the similar period of last year.
More than 5.92 million passengers were transported during the four months under review, indicating a 55% year-on-year drop.
Over 44,630 tons of cargos were handled during the period, which show a 60% fall compared with the corresponding period of last year, IAC's latest report published on its website shows.
A total of 64,984 takeoffs and landings were registered by domestic flights during the four-month period, down 38% YOY. More than 5.9 million passengers and over 42,177 tons of cargo were transported domestically, indicating a 52% and 54% drop respectively YOY.
On the international front, 460 takeoffs and landings were registered, down by 94% YOY. A total of 21,906 passengers and 2,452 tons of cargo were transported to and from overseas destinations, down 98% and 87% respectively compared with the corresponding period of last year.
Similar to previous IAC reports, Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport was the busiest Iranian airport during the period with 26,869 takeoffs and landings, registering a 34% decline.
The airport handled about 2.53 million passengers in the four months, showing a 48% decline and around 17,272 tons of cargo, indicating a 50% drop YOY.
Mashhad International Airport was the second busiest airport with 6,960 takeoffs and landings, indicating a 66% YOY decrease. It transported 781,341 passengers and 5,879 tons of cargos, down 74% and 79% respectively year-on-year.
Shiraz International Airport registered 5,291 takeoffs and landings (a 49% YOY decrease), while transporting a total of 434,612 passengers (a 57% decline) and over 3,821 tons of cargos showing a 65% decrease YOY. The airport ranked third on the list of Iran’s busiest airports during the four-month period.
Resumption of Flights
After four months of closure due to restrictions to contain Covid-19, airlines, both Iranian and foreign, are resuming international flights to and from destinations in Iran.
IranAir, the country’s flag carrier airline, resumed roundtrip Tehran-Vienna flights as of August 15.
The airline will offer weekly flights to Austria’s capital on Saturdays; the aircraft will depart from Imam Khomeini International Airport at 08:40 a.m. and the return flight will leave Vienna on the same day at 11:50 a.m. local time.
Passengers can book the flight online via the airline’s website at www.ebooking.iranair.com or call +982146621888, IRNA cited public relations of IranAir as reporting.
According to a statement released by Austria civil aviation authority, all passengers holding passports of the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the UK who have confirmed tickets of plane, train or bus would be able to transit through Austria to their final destinations.
Visa D (proof of employment, proof of being a student there, spouse, children, etc.) is also among other required documents to fly to Austria.
Passengers older than 11 years arriving by air must provide negative Covid-19 test results in English to gain entry to Vienna; their PCR tests for the coronavirus must have been conducted not more than 72 hours before boarding. They need to fill out Entry Requirements form on https://www.bmk.gv.at/en/service/entry-requirements.htm before the flight.
IranAir inaugurated services to Manchester Airport from Tehran last month.
The once-weekly flight is serviced by its fleet of two Airbus A330-200 aircraft operating on Saturdays.
These aircraft offer 32 seats in Business class followed by 238 in Economy class, Airways magazine reported.
The first flight departed Tehran at 0555L before arriving in Manchester at 0900L on June 3. The return then departed around 1030L before arriving back into Tehran for 2015L
IranAir’s service to Manchester Airport boost its seat capacity into the UK by 12.5%, offering 4,320 seats from the beginning of this month, with the thrice-weekly London Heathrow route complimenting this portfolio.
According to data from Anna.aero, the carrier will only offer 14,820 seats into the UK between now and the end of December, if those two aircraft are used year-round.
In addition to giving a direct link to the Iranian capital, it also makes IranAir the only airline to operate to Tehran from the UK, especially after British Airways’ decision to suspend its route back in September 2018.
As of June 3, Manchester has been the sixth destination served in Europe by the airline after Milan, Stockholm, London, Madrid and Dusseldorf.
This is also significant news for the airport, in time for the relaunch of operations from the area since July 1.
IranAir will now join the following airlines that are operating out of the airport: Air France, KLM, Aer Lingus, Eurowings, Loganair, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, British Airways, Ryanair, and Eastern Airways.
On June 2, Aviation Director for Manchester Airport Julian Carr made a post on social media platform LinkedIn that other carriers such as Ethiopian, Finnair, Turkish and easyJet are restarting operations, too.
“While it’s some way off where we should have been, the initial loads on these flights have been very encouraging and shows there is certainly demand out there,” said Carr.
“Been keeping busy these last few months! While we’re not back to the levels in this picture, it’s great to finally be getting up and flying again and starting the process of rebuilding the gateway to the North!”
It remains clear that Manchester Airport is positioning itself as a way of preparing for air travel to return to high levels once further restrictions on travel ease.
It will be interesting to see what the load factors are, not just on the IranAir flight but also on other general flights operating out of Manchester.
From there, it could be determined what air travel in the Northwest of England will look like going into the future.
Emirates landed its Boeing-777 on Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport on July 17. A Covid-19 PCR test is needed for boarding the flight, said an official with IKIA, adding that passengers are required to provide a certificate confirming that they have tested negative for Covid-19 from no later than 96 hours before their flight.
What's more, Qatar Airways has increased the number of its weekly flights to Tehran from 17 to 21 as of July 17.
Qatar Airways also resumed passenger flights to Mashhad on Saturday morning. According to local officials, the airline is set to operate four weekly flights to Mashhad in northeast Iran. The airline also reopened passenger flights to Isfahan and Shiraz earlier on Friday.
As of June 17, Qatar Airways operates 25 weekly flights to four major cities in Iran.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways Cargo operated several flights to bring medical supplies to almost every corner of Iran during the past four months, to support Iranians in their fight against coronavirus.
Furthermore, Mashhad International Airport hosted Afghanistan's Kam Air jets last week. The airline is scheduled to operate direct from Kabul, Herat and Kandahar to Mashhad.
The airport monitors passengers' health, mainly through temperature checks and physical distancing measures.
And Air Arabia resumed Sharjah–Shiraz-Sharjah flights earlier this month. The airline operates two weekly flights.
Meanwhile, Turkey has suspended all flights to Iran and Afghanistan until Sept. 1 despite its previous announcement that flights between the two countries for passengers who hold Turkish citizenship or permanent residency will resume on August 4, secretary of the Association of Iranian Airlines Maqsoud Asadi-Samani told Fars News Agency.
On July 19, Turkey cancelled flight permits to and from Iran and Afghanistan due to the pandemic.
IranAir, Meraj Airlines and Iran Airtour Airlines were scheduled to resume flights between the two countries last month after a four-month hiatus.
“Passengers wanting to travel from Iran to Turkey have to take Qatar Airways flights to Doha and then take another plane to their final destination. That will add to extra cost and time. Qatar Airways does not operate direct flights between Iran and Turkey,” ILNA quoted Reza Jafarzadeh, the spokesperson of Iran Civil Aviation Organization, as saying.
Earlier, Jafarzadeh said Turkey has not reopened its borders for Iranian tourists, as only Turkish citizens and those who hold work visas are allowed to travel to that country.
“Therefore, selling tour, transportation and accommodation services to the public before normal flights resume is unlawful,” he was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
“Airlines must have control over ticket sales. They are only allowed to sell tickets after securing flight permits to foreign countries. Passengers are also advised to check the flight status at www.cao.ir before buying tickets.”