Iran-Turkey Flights Resume After Covid Closure
EghtesadOnline: Flights to and from Turkey have been resumed after six months of closure due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Domestic airlines, namely IranAir, Mahan Air, Iran Airtour, Meraj Airlines, ATA Airlines and Qeshm Air, along with Qatar Airways, Emirates and Turkish Airlines, have announced resuming weekly flights to Tehran and Istanbul, according to their public channels in Telegram.
Mahan Air and IranAir operated flights to the neighboring country on Sept. 22 and Sept. 25 from Imam Khomeini International Airport.
ATA Airlines, which operated a flight from Tabriz International Airport to Istanbul on Sept. 25, offers weekly services on Wednesdays and Fridays at 06:00 p.m. local time.
Qeshm Air’s Tehran-Istanbul flights are scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays.
Iran Airtour is slated to operate weekly flights from Tabriz to Istanbul on Mondays at 12:15 p.m. and the return flights on the same day at 03:30 p.m.
Meraj Airlines says it will fly its Airbus A320 from Tabriz to Istanbul on Tuesdays 11:00 a.m.
Turkish Airlines resumed its flights to Tehran on Sept. 25. It first suspended all international flights, including those to and from Iran in accordance with the country’s government mandate that indefinitely banned all international flights to Turkey.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation of Turkey had already ordered the suspension of flights between Iran and Turkey on February 26 as a precaution to stop the potential spread of coronavirus.
In June, the national flag carrier airline of Turkey announced the resumption of Iran flights. However, in mid-July, Turkey cancelled scheduled flights to and from Iran, including those by IranAir, Meraj Airlines and Iran Airtour Airlines, that were slated for July 13, due to the second surge of coronavirus pandemic in Iran.
Domestic airlines operated three empty flights from Tehran to Istanbul to return Iranians to the country, as they were not allowed to carry Iranians to Istanbul and could just return them back home.
Ticket to Turkey are priced at 45 million rials ($154), according to Maqsoud Asadi-Samani, secretary of the Association of Iranian Airlines.
"Plane tickets usually get cheaper when more airlines offer services. With the resumption of flights by Iranian airlines to Turkey, Qatar Airways tickets, which were sold at 600 million rials ($2,056), are now priced at 240 million rials ($822),” he said.
“At present, Iranian airlines operate occasional flights to 20 airports around the world. Iranian passengers are allowed to fly back to the country in accordance with safety and health guidelines related to Covid-19.”
All passengers need to provide their negative PCR tests for the coronavirus, which must have been conducted not more than 72 hours before boarding.
Resumption of Int'l Flights
IranAir will resume flights to Germany’s Frankfurt as of Oct. 3 after more than six months of suspension, IRNA reported.
The first flight from Tehran to Madrid was launched on Sept. 2 after 17 years.
Following efforts made by the Iranian Embassy in Madrid with the coordination of Civil Aviation Organization, the Airline of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Spain's domestic institutions, the first direct flight of Iran Air was launched on Sept. 2 from Tehran to Madrid and vice versa.
"We hope that this important step in bilateral relations would strengthen ties between the two nations and develop tourism, which would also help promote mutual trade cooperation," Iranian Ambassador to Spain Hassan Qashqavi was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.
IranAir also 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 the same day at 11:50 a.m. local time.
According to a statement released by Austria’s civil aviation authority, all passengers holding passports of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the UK with confirmed plane, train or bus tickets would be able to transit through Austria to their final destination.
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.
In June, IranAir inaugurated services to Manchester Airport from Tehran.
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 from 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 increased 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.
IranAir will now join the following airlines operating out of the airport: Air France, KLM, Aer Lingus, Eurowings, Loganair, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, British Airways, Ryanair and Eastern Airways.
Emirates landed its Boeing-777 at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport on July 17.
What's more, Air Arabia resumed Sharjah–Shiraz-Sharjah flights earlier this month. The airline operates two weekly flights.
Qatar Airways has increased the number of its weekly flights to Tehran from 17 to 21 lately. It 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.
Mashhad International Airport hosted Afghanistan's Kam Air jets recently. The airline operates directly from Kabul, Herat and Kandahar to Mashhad. The airport monitors passengers' health mainly through temperature checks and social distancing measures.