EghtesadOnline: Airlines will only be allowed to sell tickets for up to 60% of plane’s total seating capacity as of Oct. 22, Maqsoud Asadi-Samani, secretary of the Association of Iranian Airlines, said on Monday.
As per the decision of National Coronavirus Headquarters on new measures to prevent the further transmission of Covid-19, all types of aircraft need to observe social distancing by operating at a fraction of their passenger capacity.
In addition to the new measure, the rise in foreign currency exchange rates has increased airlines’ expenses and would leave them with no choice but to raise their fares, Fars News Agency reported.
Noting that the Central Bank of Iran did not provide airlines with foreign currency from the so-called secondary FX market, known by its Persian name Nima, Asadi-Samani said, “Airlines had to meet their forex needs at free market rates to import aircraft spare parts last year.”
As part of the government’s economic relief package worth 80 trillion rials ($273 million) for the transportation sector, airlines are receiving 20 trillion rials ($68 million) in loans to help them weather the hardship caused by the new coronavirus.
Acording to Asadi-Samani, the lending rate is at 12%.
“Air travel and tourism have been the hardest-hit industries since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic," he added.
Airport Traffic Down 38%
Iran Airports Company registered a total of 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 drops 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 (a 54% decline) and over 5,188 tons of cargos showing 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 more than 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 the number of takeoffs and landings in comparison with the preceding month (June 22-July 21).
Accordingly, the number of passengers and 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.
International takeoffs and landings almost doubled, registering an 87% jump compared to the preceding month.
The number of handling of passengers and cargo in the international front during the fifth month under review observed a 75% and 2% increase respectively compared with the preceding month.