EghtesdOnline: Iran Airports Company registered 88,269 takeoffs and landings during the first five months of the current Iranian year (March 20-Aug. 21) to register a 38% decline compared with the similar period of last year.
Close to 8.12 million passengers were transported during the five months under review, indicating a 52% year-on-year drop.
Over 61,198 tons of cargos were handled during the period, which shows a 57% drop compared with the corresponding period of last year, IAC's latest report published on its website shows.
A total of 87,406 takeoffs and landings were registered by domestic flights during the period, down 34% YOY. More than 8.08 million passengers and over 57,350 tons of cargo were transported domestically, indicating a 48% and 51% YOY decline respectively.
On the international front, 862 takeoffs and landings were registered, down by 91% YOY. A total of 36,923 passengers and 3,843 tons of cargo were transported to and from overseas destinations, down 97% and 85% 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 36,003 takeoffs and landings, registering a 30% decline.
The airport handled about 3.44 million passengers in the five months, showing a 43% decline and around 23,310 tons of cargo, indicating a 46% drop YOY.
Mashhad International Airport was the second busiest airport with 9,388 takeoffs and landings, indicating a 66% YOY decrease. It transported 1.08 million passengers and 8,172 tons of cargos, down 73% and 79% respectively year-on-year.
Shiraz International Airport registered 7,026 takeoffs and landings (a 46% YOY decrease), while transporting a total of 584,940 passengers that registered a 54% decline, and over 5,188 tons of cargos that marked a 63% decrease YOY. The airport ranked third on the list of Iran’s busiest airports during the five-month period.
Iran Airports Company is an arm of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, which manages 54 airports across the country.
In the fifth Iranian month (July 22-Aug. 21), a total of 22,825 takeoffs and landings were registered, which indicate a 27% decline compared with the similar period of last year.
Close to 2.2 million passengers and 16,567 tons of cargos were transported during the month, indicating a 42% and 50% fall respectively YOY.
The report shows 22,422 takeoffs and landings were registered by domestic flights from July 22 to Aug. 21, down 22% YOY. More than 2.18 million passengers and 15,176 tons of cargo were transported domestically, indicating a 36% and 42% decrease respectively YOY.
On the international front, 403 takeoffs and landings were registered, showing an 84% decrease YOY. A total of 15,017 passengers and 1,390 tons of cargo were transported to and from overseas destinations, indicating a 96% and 80% decrease respectively YOY.
The IAC report also illustrates that the total takeoffs and landings during the fourth month under review observed a 5% jump in comparison with the preceding month (June 22-July 21).
Accordingly, the number of passengers and the volume of cargos handled during the month ending Aug. 21 also witnessed a 13% and 16% increase respectively month-on-month.
As for domestic flights, the takeoffs and landings, as well as the handling of passengers and cargos, increased by 4%, 13% and 17% respectively compared to the previous month.
The international takeoffs and landings almost doubled, registering an 87% jump compared to the preceding month.
The number of passengers and cargo handled on the international front during the fifth month under review observed a 75% and 2% increase respectively compared with the preceding month.
Decline in Overflight Revenues
Iran Airports Company’s revenues from overflight charges decreased by 46% or $69 million in the first half of 2020 compared with the same period of 2019, according to Siavash Amirmokri, managing director of the company.
The official noted that optimistic projections put the number of aircraft flying over Iranian airspace during 2020 at 112,000 and expected revenues to reach 10,000 billion rials ($38 million).
However, he added that a 47% decline in passenger traffic is expected at Iran’s airports by the end of 2020, IRNA reported.
“The total number of international passengers at Middle East airports will decrease by 102-113 million and revenues in this sector will be down by $18-20 billion during 2020. The number of domestic passengers in the Middle East will also decline by 21-24 million and revenues will drop by $2 billion,” he said.
Iran is drawing up plans to offer discounts to some foreign airlines using its airspace, IRNA quoted a senior aviation official as saying recently, after a slump in flights due to the coronavirus pandemic and regional tensions.
Nasser Aqaei, director of the state-run Iran Airports and Air Navigation Company, said the discounts would go to the top eight airlines providing transit income as well as airlines boosting their flights by 20%.
However, no general cut in fees are planned, IRNA reported.
Iran is one of many countries that charges overflight fees, which are generally used to fund services such as air traffic control, weather data and aeronautical information, Reuters reported.
The planned discounts still have to be approved by the government, Aqaei added.
Saeed Akbari, an official with Iran Airports Company, said in April that following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, overflights have reduced to an average of 110 per day.
"The highest number of overflights these days has been 117 whereas between 900 and 1,000 flights passed over Iranian airspace per day in the first half of last fiscal year [March 2019-20]," he added.
Noting that overflight and airport services’ fees are the only sources of income for Iran Airports Company, the official said it is facing a severe resource crunch.
“IAC is a government-run company and does not have the option of resorting to downsizing. On top of that, our employees are mostly the elites of the aviation industry so we can’t afford to lose them,” he said.
Akbari stressed that even when the coronavirus outbreak ends, it would take a long time for the company to recover from this latest blow.
“The company may have to stop its ongoing development projects and cancel new contracts or implement pay cuts to stay afloat,” he was quoted as saying by the Persian newspaper Etemad.