Foreign Airlines are willing to make a comeback to Iran’s sky which offers solace to airlines flying away from war-torn areas.
On October 29, Alef, a news website, filed a report headed “Thirty-three Foreign Airlines Operating in Iran”. The following is the translation of part of what the website posted:
“The willingness on the part of foreign airlines to be present in Iran is on the rise. For the time being, 33 foreign carriers are operating in Iran and the number of passengers transferred by them between March 21, 2013 and March 21, 2014 stood at some three million,” Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) reported.
“Iran’s secure airspace is the key reason behind the rise in demand among foreign airlines for having their passenger jets fly over Iran. The ongoing conflicts in some regional countries, in particular Iraq, have prompted them to re-route the flights which originate from or are destined for either the Persian Gulf or East Asia. In fact, among other airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa and their subsidiaries, Emirates, Air France and KLM have stopped flying over the Iraqi sky because of security concerns.
Besides, in the wake of the downing of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 over Ukraine, concerns about flights over conflict zones have been heightened and international airlines are trying to find alternative routes to divert flights away from war-torn areas.
In that respect, Iran’s airspace enjoys high security. That’s why it has seen the largest number of flights over the last month. At the moment, over 950 foreign passenger planes fly into and out of Iran’s airspace on a daily basis which is unprecedented in the history of Iran’s aviation industry. According to stats released last year, flights of foreign carriers over Iran fetched $120 million and the revenues are projected to more than double in the year starting March 21, 2014.
Iran: A booming market for foreign airlines
That foreign passenger jets choose Iran’s airspace is by itself a reflection of security in Iran’s sky and can even promote more security in the country. Aside from demand for routes through Iran’s airspace, willingness on the part of foreign airlines to have flights to and from Iran has also increased.
“Regional and international air transportation is one of the attractions of the aviation industry. Based on estimates by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in coming years, regional flights will register the highest growth as opposed to domestic and international flights,” said Deputy Director of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization Mohammad Khodakarami.
Recalling Iran’s tourist attractions, he added, “Right now, different cities across Iran enjoy a lot of attractions for tourists as well as pilgrims, encouraging foreigners to pay a visit to Iran. Several firms are actively involved in Iran’s air transportation market, and by the same token, foreign air carriers within or beyond the region, schedule flights and get passengers transferred.”
All major global airliners have flights to Iran
“We have had correspondence with some of the airlines which are willing to pick up where they left off,” he said.
“For the time being, all major global airlines have flights to Iran and it is not correct to say large air carriers have flown away from Iran’s [market]. Given the rise in demand on the market, foreign airlines have appealed for flights to Iran. For instance, except for Lufthansa, its fellow German airline, Germani, has recently applied for flights from Germany to Iran and it will shortly run four flights a week from Düsseldorf to Tehran, Hamburg to Tehran, Berlin to Tehran and Berlin to Mashhad,” he underlined.
Describing Iran’s market as thriving for foreign firms, he said, “Airlines are like business firms and economic institutions; they themselves are willing to enter Iran’s market. These companies have no limits to their activities in Iran, because it is an economic and trade concept and if such flights turn out to be profitable, they are not willing to lose them. If there is any limit, it is about economic matters of the firms and the downsizing of their fleet of passenger jets.”
Highlighting that Iran is a booming market for foreign airlines, he concluded, “We want our national airlines to get a share of international flights and for that reason we seek to strike a balance between foreign and domestic firms and have so far been successful on that front.”