EghtesadOnline: Iran’s flag carrier, IranAir, has returned a total of 316.44 billion rials ($1.2 million) to customers over the cancellation of Covid-related flights, since the beginning of the current fiscal year (March 20).
According to Alireza Barkhor, IranAir’s CEO, 38.34 billion rials ($153,000) have also been spent to cover virus-related expenses.
“Homa [as IranAir is known in Persian] has operated 17,479 flights since the outbreak of the coronavirus in February … More than 117,000 passengers have been transported by the flag carrier during the period,” he was quoted as saying by TINN recently.
Iranian airliners have been facing serious hurdles in the past couple of months, including an increase in foreign exchange rates, decline in the number of flights and passengers due to the outbreak of coronavirus, airlines’ obligation to sell tickets for only 60% of a plane’s seating capacity in line with social distancing rules and hardship caused by sanctions.
Some experts believe that Iran’s aviation industry needs at least three years to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
Ticket sales for ATR planes have reduced by 50% and those for other commercial aircraft dipped by 60% in order to meet the health protocols.
Passengers suspected of having contracted the coronavirus are not permitted to board a flight, according to the health protocols of the Health Ministry, World Health Organization and the guidelines of Civil Aviation Organization of Iran.
IranAir is currently offering scheduled flights on seven European routes.
After months of hiatus due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the Airline of the Islamic Republic of Iran, IranAir, resumed its weekly flights to Turkey’s Ankara on Dec. 23.
As scheduled, the flight will depart from Imam Khomeini International Airport at 09:45 a.m. and the return flight will leave Ankara Esenboga Airport on the same day at 01:55 p.m. local time, IRNA quoted Hossein Jahani, the director general of IranAir’s Public Relations Department, as saying.
The national flag carrier is also operating two weekly flights between Tehran and Istanbul.
Flights between the two neighboring countries were suspended as of Oct. 4, based on a decision by Turkey.
IranAir recently announced that Turkish aviation authorities have issued permission for the flag carrier to operate limited flights between the two countries following a series of talks held by their respective officials.
Domestic passenger and cargo transportation has declined considerably across the country, latest data released by Iran Airports Company show.
About 14.77 million passengers were transported domestically by air during the first seven months of the current fiscal year (March 20-Oct. 21), indicating a 40% year-on-year drop.
Landings and takeoffs decreased by 27% to 150,470 during the period under review.
Cargo transportation experienced a 41% decline to 111,085 tons.