EghtesadOnline: Latest figures released by Iran Airports Company indicate recovery in domestic airport traffic after Covid-19 restrictions dealt a heavy blow to the aviation sector.
Iranian airports' domestic passenger traffic increased to 8.06 million during the first four months of the current Iranian year (March 21-July 22) from 6.15 million in last year’s corresponding period.
Takeoffs and landings also posted a substantial growth from 68,343 to 103,967.
Over 64.64 million tons of cargos were handled during the period under review, considerably higher than the previous year's 43.87 million tons.
Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport accounted for 3.1 million of the total passengers, 46% higher than the same period of last year.
Mashhad International Airport and Shiraz International Airport came next with 1.32 million and 550,766 passengers, respectively.
Mehrabad handled 39,162 landings and takeoffs during the period, considerably higher than other Iranian airports.
Notably, 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.
During the month to July 22, Iranian airports' domestic passenger traffic increased to 2.28 million from 2.02 in last year’s corresponding period.
Takeoffs and landings grew from 22,614 to 28,661.
Over 17.38 million tons of cargos were handled during the fourth month of the current Iranian year, considerably higher than 13.49 million tons in the previous year's corresponding period.
Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport accounted for 847,845 of the total passenger traffic during the period, 3% more than the same period of last year.
Mashhad International Airport and Shiraz International Airport came next with 425,748 and 156,000 passengers, respectively.
Mehrabad handled 10,532 landings and takeoffs during the period, considerably higher than other Iranian airports.
Iranian airlines operated 1,022 flights from Mashhad to Tehran during the month ending July 22, transferring 96,913 passengers from the holy city to the capital.
During the period, 98,030 passengers were also flown from Tehran to Mashhad via 1,015 direct flights to put the route on top of most congested air routes during the period.
Tehran-Shiraz route came next with the highest number of monthly flights, followed by Tehran-Ahvaz and Tehran-Kish.
Statistics released by Iran Airport Company also indicate growth in the total number of foreign flights using Iranian airspace during the four-month period (March 21-July 22).
A total of 2,875 foreign flights passed through Iran's airspace during the period, which figure stood at 460 during the same period of the year before.
During the month to July 22, a total of 970 foreign airlines crossed Iran's airspace during the month. The figure stood at 215 during the same period of the year before.
Iranian airports' domestic passenger traffic in the last fiscal year (ended March 2021) declined by 38% year-on-year, as 25.05 million passengers were transported by air during the period.
A total of 203,239 tons of cargos were handled during the year, which show a 34% drop compared with the corresponding period of last year.
The IAC report also shows that airports in Iran operated 283,105 flights during the last fiscal year, posting an 18% YOY fall.
Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport accounted for 9.17 million of the total passenger traffic, 36% less than the same period of the year before.
Mashhad International Airport and Kish International Airport came next with 2.97 million and 2.26 million passengers, respectively.
Mehrabad operated 101,680 landings and takeoffs during the period, considerably higher than other Iranian airports.
Ardabil Airport registered the highest growth in takeoffs and landings among major airports in Iran, operating 2,360 flights, up 33% year-on-year.
Chabahar Airport also managed to record considerable growth in traffic, handling 2,516 takeoffs and landings, up 16% compared with the year before.
Ardabil also topped the list of major airports in terms of growth in domestic passenger traffic with 155,758 passengers, 1% higher than the year before.
IAC was established in 1988 for building, maintaining and administering airports across the country, as an affiliate of the Civil Aviation Organization. In 1994, the Supreme Council of Administrative Affairs delegated all administrative and executive responsibilities to Iran’s Airports Company in line with the country’s transportation strategies.
Since 2004, Iran’s Airport Company became a corporate holding company and a legal entity with financial independence. It functions as an affiliate of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, based on regulations and rules governing state-owned companies. Its headquarters are located at Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport and it has offices at all Iranian airports.
The new decade began with numerous countries globally shutting down their borders in response to the arrival of the novel coronavirus outbreak. This was subsequently followed by the introduction of multiple restrictions and regulations that limited the free movement of individuals to curb the spread of the virus.
According to Statista, a German company specializing in market and consumer data, the aviation industry was impacted greatly by the spread of coronavirus, with the number of global passengers decreasing drastically in 2020.
Over 4.5 billion passengers traveled globally before the pandemic, which fell to roughly 1.76 billion after the virus began to spread. With a decline in passenger transportation, 33% of respondents from an August 2020 survey declared that they would wait a month or two once the pandemic subsides before returning to their usual travel plans.
Individuals also reported that the price and stated aircraft cleaning policies were the highest factors influencing their decision to travel in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The sharp decline in global travel led to drastic losses in the aviation industry. The year 2020 ended with commercial airlines’ passenger revenue amounting to $189 billion. This illustrated a significant decrease relative to the $581 billion reported before the pandemic.
The aviation industry is estimated to have experienced revenue losses amounting to $370 billion in the same period. Additionally, airports were greatly affected, reporting revenue losses amounting to $124.8 billion in 2020 and a further $94 billion losses are estimated for 2021.
Though the commercial aviation took a large blow, global air freight traffic reduced slightly after the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. By 2021, air freight traffic is expected to grow to 63.1 million tons, an increase relative to the 55.9 million tons reported when the Covid-19 virus spread in 2020. In addition, revenues generated by cargo airlines grew substantially during the pandemic, amounting to $128.8 billion in 2020.
Iranian aviation officials believe that the sector needs at least until 2023 to make a comeback and return to pre-pandemic status.