Iran Air Grounds Boeing 747SP, Suspends Kuala Lumpur Service

Iran Air has reportedly suspended their route from Tehran to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

This comes after an announcement that their sole Boeing 747SP’s has been grounded. The 39 years old aircraft is the only aircraft in the world of its type to still operate scheduled passengers flights. Passengers with purchased tickets on this route will be handed over to Mahan Air and Air Asia’s newly started flights from Tehran to Kuala Lumpur.

However, the flights to Kuala Lumpur will resume on the 1st of August 2016. What type of aircraft that will be used then is yet unknown. A source in Iran Air claims that the Boeing 747SP will not be a part of the Kuala Lumpur flight resumptions, as it is planned to be on standby only operating high load regional flights, and most likely to be retired shortly after.

The Boeing 747SP was originally planned to be retired on the 14th of June 2016.

Iran Air has signed MoUs to order around 20 ATRs, 100 Boeings and 118 Airbus aircraft.


Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

Amin Chini

Amin is Aviation Iran’s founder and writer. Contact me by using the contact form or Twitter @aviationirancom.

  • ✈quixoticguide✈

    What about the flight to Beijing IR800?

    • Amin


  • Jason

    Hi! Do you have any insights on whether IR has retired the 747SP yet? I am just curious has it flown any flights since the supposed “Grounding” yet? I am visiting Iran in Sept and I would love to fly 747SP even for a short haul flight.

    • Amin

      Hello! The SP has not flown any flights since the grounding, you can also see on Tehran-IKA’s website that all Iran Air’s flights to Kuala Lumpur and Beijing now are cancelled. The Mumbai flights have been transferred to A300 operations, previously 747.

      I doubt that the SP will fly in the next coming weeks, however if you are interested, Mahan Air recently resumed B747-300 operations with flights to Baghdad. If that sounds attractive 🙂

      I wish you a pleasant and safe trip, enjoy.

      • Jason

        Thanks for that response and I appreciate that info! To be honest, Mahan Air’s 747-300 sounds really attractive but I don’t really have time to get a Iraqi visa at this point. I am wondering does Mahan Air fly its 743 anywhere within Iran at all (I know some airlines fly widebody on domestic legs occasionally and I was wondering does Mahan do that at all)? I am big #AVGeek and have sort of researched Iranian’s air industry. I came up with a list that I would love to try while I am in Iran: Iran Air’s 747SP(Not happening now I guess), Aseman Airline’s 727 & Pouya Air’s An-74. Just out of curiosity, is the 727 and An-74 still flying within Iran and is there a route that I will have a better chance flying them? Also, do you have any additional “exotic” plane you would recommend a foreigner to fly while I am in Iran? I would appreciate any info you might have or if you can point me to the right direction. I have searched on and flyertalk but there’s not much info about Iranian domestic flights. Thanks! -Jason

        • Hello,

          Mahan Air previously operated the B747-300 on routes to Tehran, Kish Island and Bandar Abbas but not anymore as it’s assigned on the Baghdad route.
          Airlines in Iran do indeed fly some of its flights with widebodies and Mahan Air does it on a daily basis.

          The A300 is always scheduled (and a few times a week A310) on the most major routes, example Tehran-Shiraz and Tehran-Mashhad.

          Yes, the B722 and An-74 are still operating. You can find the B722 on more routes (example Tehran-Ahvaz, Yazd, Bushehr, Abadan etc) but you will for sure see it on Tehran-Shiraz and Tehran-Mashhad again.

          The An-74 should be routed on Tehran-Ilam, and Tehran-Sari but I cannot confirm that.

          The A300 and B727 will be easy to find, assuming you want to visit larger cities such as Shiraz and Mashhad. However with the An-74 you are more or less forced to fly to Ilam, which isn’t much of a problem as the flight is only 1h long.

          The entire Iranian air fleet is exotic for anyone coming from abroad, save for the A320 and maybe the B737-400 and ATR72. If you fancy a trip on a Fokker 100 (Iran Air, Qeshm Air, Aseman, Naft Air, Kish Air), MD82 (Caspian Airlines, Iran Air, Iran Air Tours, Kish Air, Zagros Air) MD83 (ATA Airlines, Caspian Airlines, Iran Air Tours, Kish Air, Zagros Airlines) MD88 (Taban Air), F50 (Naft Air, or the BAe146/RJ85 (Mahan Air, Taban Airm Qeshm Air) that should be easy as well. It mostly depends on your travel dates and routing.

          I assume that you will visit a travel agency in Iran to book your trips as you cannot book online from abroad. Tell them your travel plan + the aircraft types you prefer, and they will fix it for you as they see the up-to-date aircraft types in their booking system.

          I wish you a nice trip.

        • Amin


          Mahan Air’s B747-300 did fly on domestic routes until nearly 1 year ago, but since it became active (which was some weeks ago) it is only serving the Baghdad route.

          The Iranian airlines do occasionally fly widebodies domestically, but Mahan Air deploys the A300 and A310 regularly. You have the chance to see the A300 on Tehran-Mashhad and Tehran-Shiraz, but the A310 is more likely on the route to Mashhad.

          The An-74 and B722 do indeed still fly in Iran and you are most likely to catch the B722 on routes (again the two traditional routes) from Tehran to Mashhad or Shiraz. The B722 does also fly to cities such as Bushehr and Yazd but I would image that Shiraz or Mashhad is more interesting for you + the odds for Shiraz and Mashhad is almost always 100%. The An-74 on the other hand only operates a few routes. Tehran-Ilam is confirmed and maybe Tehran-Sari as I’m not too sure if it has changed. The flight to Ilam takes 1h 10 mins.

          Other aircraft you might would like to fly with could be the Fokker 100, Fokker 50, MD82/83/88 and BAe146/RJ85. The less attractive aircraft in Iran should be considered as the A320 and B737-400.

          As you cannot pay with credit cards online from abroad, I assume that you will book the domestic flights when you are in Iran. You should visit a travel agency in the city you arrive and tell them what your travel plan is, as well as telling them which aircraft you want to fly. They will see which the operating aircraft on each route is and I’m certainly sure that they will do a little extra for you as our guest in Iran. It would have been a pleasure for me to help you further, but as I’m not in Iran this unfortunately all I could do.

          I once again wish you a nice trip and hope that my text answered most of your questions.

          • Amin

            Hello again,

            I just checked Tehran-Mashhad and apparently here should be an Mahan Air B747-300 operating on some of the dates until 07SEP16.

          • Jason

            Hi, Amin! I am back in the States from Iran and I indeed flown with both B727 and B743 following your advice. Apparently nobody at the travel agency I went to in downtown Tehran was able to understand what I was doing… So I just went straight to MHR airport. Eventually, I was able to book a round trip to Mashhad and had a day trip there. Flown in Mashhad with Mahan’s 743 and flew out on Aseman’s 727. I really enjoyed my flying experience there and Iran in general to be honest. I am very grateful for the info you provided! I would have definitely missed out on the 743 without your help! Thanks for your help and keep up this awesome blog!

          • Amin

            Hello! Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed your time in Iran and the flight trips, it was my pleasure to help you! 🙂