Iran Civil Aviation Organization (CAO.IRI) has permitted a large number of extra charter flights to and from Iran for the Nowruz season, the Iranian New Year.
The season started on 15 March and continues until 4 April 2017. In order to perform these flights, CAO.IRI has asked the concerned airlines to take extra responsibility for the ticketing process, inform passengers via phone and at the airport in case of unforeseen situations as well as issue press releases and contact media to inform the passengers when needed. Also, the airlines are encouraged to report travel agencies that sell illegal fares not accepted by CAO.IRI. The operations will be performed with CAO.IRI’s acceptance in coordination with Iran Airports Company, airport security forces, airport customs and ground handling companies.
A few weeks ago, CAO.IRI revoked and suspended the licenses of 134 and 209 travel agencies respectively. IRI.CAO states these types of actions were taken mostly due to the travel agencies’ mismanagement, change of venue without IRI.CAO’s approval, profiteering and issuance of invalid tickets.
As per the numbers released on 4 March 2017, CAO.IRI has permitted a total of 1436 extra Nowruz flights. The domestic airlines have been granted permission to operate 9963 scheduled and 392 charter flights to domestic destinations and 1412 scheduled and 546 charter flights to international destinations. Meanwhile, international airlines have been permitted to operate 1543 scheduled and 498 charter flights to international destinations.
Most of the international airlines are Turkish carriers, flying to destinations such as Adana and Izmir. Iran’s Foreign Ministry has advised Iranian nationals to exercise caution while travelling to Turkey due to security concerns. This does not, however, stop Iranians to visit the neighbouring country. Iran issued permission for charter flights to Turkey as late as in two weeks ago. The news, welcomed by Turkey’s declining tourism industry, will allow Iranians from around ten cities to visit Turkey. The prediction is that around 30,000 people from only Tehran will visit Turkey for Nowruz, Daily Sabah reports. In 2016, Turkey hosted 1,6 million Iranian tourists and the aim for 2017 is 2 million, according to a report by Hotel Association of Turkey (TÜROB) retrieved via Daily Sabah. In January 2017, the number of tourists from Iran increased by 10% to 101,000 people, a noteworthy trend considering the Turkish tourism industry’s negative figures. The report suggests that Iran may be the biggest tourism market this year for Turkey.
During Nowruz, popular destinations for Iranians include Thailand, Turkey, India, Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Cyprus. For this year’s Nowruz, Cyprus’ Cobalt Air and Thailand’s Jet Asia Airways will operate flights for the very first time to Iran.
Photo: Shahram Sharifi