EghtesadOnline: IranAir, the country’s flag carrier airline, operated 211 international flights during the fourth month of the current Iranian year (June 21-July 21), to post a considerable growth after months of decline due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The airline transported 10,817 passengers on the international front during the period, registering a 60% hike compared with the similar month of last year,” Hossein Jahani, the head of the airline’s public relations office, told IRNA.
“The figure also indicates a 23.5% growth compared with the preceding month [ended June 20].”
IranAir also carried 1.76 million tons of cargo and 44 tons of postal deliveries during the month under review on both domestic and international routes, registering a 7.24% and 80.5% month-on-month increase.
The huge jump in the transportation of international passengers followed, despite the flag carrier’s capacity reduction to ensure social distancing amid the pandemic.
According to Masoud Mohammadi, an official with the Iranian airline, ticket sales for ATR planes have reduced from 65 seats to 45, those for Airbus commercial aircraft from 130 to 100 and the capacity of Fokker planes has declined to 70 from 100 passengers
IranAir is now operating round-trip flights to London, Manchester, Amsterdam, Milan, Stockholm, Madrid, Vienna and Dubai.
Domestic airlines, which were allowed to sell tickets at up to 60% of their total seating capacity when they resumed operations a few months back following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, can now increase booking to capacity, provided they strictly comply with guidelines of the National Coronavirus Headquarters on new measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Ensuring that the aircraft APU (an auxiliary power unit on a vehicle that provides energy for functions other than propulsion) for air conditioning is working constantly, keeping the two rows at the back of plane vacant for passengers who might need to be quarantined, conducting the regular sampling of aircraft cabin air by representatives of Health Ministry, and ensuring the full compliance of passengers with health protocols (wearing masks, disinfecting and social distancing at terminals and airport shuttles) from check-in at the airport to destination are among new measures introduced by the Infection Prevention Committee of the National Coronavirus Headquarters, IRNA reported.
As part of the economic relief package worth 80 trillion rials ($296 million) for the transportation sector approved by the government, airlines will receive a total of 20 trillion rials ($74 million) in loans to help them weather the hardship caused by the new coronavirus.
According to Secretary of the Association of Iranian Airlines Maqsoud Asadi-Samani, airlines have been introduced to designated banks and are going through the loan approval process.
“Since the beginning of June, the airline companies could register at Kara.mcls.gov.ir for the coronavirus loans that will be offered at the lending rate of 12%,” he said.
“Air travel and tourism have been hardest-hit industries in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, domestic flights are carried out through some airports, but aircraft fly 40-50% short of full capacity to allow for social distancing,” he was quoted as saying by News.mrud.ir late July.
Air Traffic Slowly Normalizing
Data released by the Iran Airports Company show international air traffic in Iran is beginning to experience growth after the spread of the new coronavirus caused a significant slump in both passenger and cargo transportation.
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 compared 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, a total of 21,767 takeoffs and landings were registered, indicating 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, registering a 45% and 51% YOY drops 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 1,367 tons of cargo were transported to and from overseas destinations, marking 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.