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EghtesadOnline: Flights for Norouz (Iranian New Year) holiday vacations will not be canceled and the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran (CAO) does not plan to do so either, the spokesman of CAO said on Thursday.

“There is a possibility that flights to certain provinces will be restricted or canceled due to complications caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the National Coronavirus Headquarters’ orders are needed for this to happen,” Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

Norouz, the Iranian New Year, is the main extended holiday season in Iran.

Zibakhsh noted that if any flight is canceled, passengers will have a full refund of their ticket fees.

“There will be no direct foreign flights to Antalya or London from Iran. Yet there will be connection flights to these destinations. It must be noted that passengers using connection flights to London can only purchase a one-way ticket to that destination and no passenger is currently allowed to enter the country from the UK,” he added. 

Iran initially suspended flights to and from the UK since Dec. 22, 2020, over the new Covid-19 strain in the European country. The suspensions were placed for short periods but were renewed multiple times.

The government recently suspended flights to and from 32 high-risk countries with the aim of curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic until further notice.

According to Zibakhsh, these countries include the UK, South Africa, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, French Guinea, Lesotho, Guyana, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Seychelles, Suriname, Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe, IRNA reported. 

The measure has been taken at the request of the National Coronavirus Headquarters.

“Before boarding the plane, all Iranian or foreign passengers planning to travel to Iran need to have a RT-PCR test result from authorized laboratories and translated in to English, proving they are Covid 19-free,” he added.

Iranian airports' domestic passenger traffic during the first 10 months of the Iranian year (March 20-Jan. 19, 2020) declined by 42% year-on-year to 20.41 million, according to the latest report published by Iran Airports Company. 

Over 161,444 tons of cargos were handled during the 10 months, which shows a 39% drop compared with the corresponding period of last year.

The IAC report also shows that airports in Iran handled 226,534 landings and takeoffs in the period under review, posting a 23% YOY fall. 

Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport accounted for 7.53 million of the passenger traffic, 39% lower than the same period of last year.

Mashhad International Airport and Kish International Airport came next with 2.39 million and 1.7 million passengers, respectively.

Mehrabad handled 81,889 landings and takeoffs during the period, considerably higher than other Iranian airports.

IAC's data do not include figures on Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport, which account for the largest portion of international flights operated to/from Iran.

As per the figures, close to 2.104 million passengers were transported domestically during the 10th month of the current fiscal year (Dec. 20, 2020-Jan. 19), indicating a 38% year-on-year drop.

Mehrabad International Airport topped the list of Iranian airports in terms of domestic flights during the one-month period. The airport handled 34.57% of landings and takeoffs. 

Landings and takeoffs decreased by 9% to 26,299 during the 10th month of the year. Cargo transportation also experienced a 26% decline to 18,948 tons, IAC’s data show. 

The numbers, however, show signs of hope for the industry, when it is compared with the month before. Accordingly, airports in Iran hosted 2.104 million passengers in domestic flights during the 10th month of the year, which is 22% higher than the month before. Landings and takeoffs also increase by 11% and 23% respectively. 

As per the figures, airlines operated 664 flights from Kish Island to Tehran during the month to Jan. 19, transferring 64,368 passengers from the island to the capital city. A total of 67,549 passengers were also transferred from Tehran to Kish Island by 661 direct flights to put the route on top of most congested air routes during the 10th month of the year.

Tehran-Mashhad flights ranked second in terms of highest number of monthly flights, followed by Tehran-Ahvaz and Tehran-Shiraz. 

The report also includes data on the cancellation of Iranian airliners' flights. As per the report, 43% of Iranian airliners' planned flights were canceled during the month to Jan. 19. The cancellation rate was 48% during the month. 

Sepehran Airlines topped the list, with a cancelation rate of 64% during the month under review. It was followed by Mahan Air, with 63%, Taban Airlines with 62%, ATA Airlines with 54% and Iran Airtour with 49% cancelation. 

Meraj Airlines, Qeshm Air and Kish Air recorded the best performance in this regard, as their cancellation rate stood at 22%, 28% and 29%, respectively.

Air travel and tourism have been the hardest-hit industries in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

As the impact of the coronavirus and multiple government travel restrictions sweep throughout the world, many airlines have already been driven into technical bankruptcy, or are at least substantially in breach of debt covenants.

Iranian aviation officials believe that the sector needs at least three years to make a comeback.

Siavash Amirmokri, managing director of Iran Airports Company, says the pandemic has reduced the number of international flights by 50-60% around the world.

As the impact of the coronavirus and multiple government travel reactions sweep throughout the world, many airlines have been driven into technical bankruptcy, or are at least substantially in breach of debt covenants.


flights Norouz CAO