Qeshm Air plans to enter the European market by starting flights to Germany. The airline had earlier announced its intention to launch flights from Iran to Hamburg, Stockholm, Cologne, Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels, just a few weeks after becoming an authorised Third Country Operator (TCO) by the European Union’s EASA. The TCO licence, obtained in November 2016, allows Qeshm Air to operate services to EASA’s 32 member states.
On 9 April 2017, Tabriz Municipality’s mayor Sadegh Najafi-Khazarlou met with Qeshm Air’s CEO Mahmoud Shekarab. According to a statement released by the municipality, the CEO announced the start of flights between Tabriz and Hamburg, Germany in mid-May 2017 after having obtained all necessary licences. On 13 April 2017, Tabriz International Airport started to issue electronic visa (e-visa), the mayor announced the route’s start date on 15 May 2017.
On 13 April 2017, Tabriz International Airport started to issue electronic visas (e-visa). On the occasion, the mayor announced that the route will commence on 15 May 2017.
“The launch of the Tabriz – Hamburg route is an important step for the Municipality of Tabriz in the field of international affairs. Given the common commercial and cultural grounds between the two sides, the role of Tabriz in Iran-Germany relations will be highlighted”, Tabriz’s Mayor Sadegh Najafi-Khazarlou said.
Preparatory work for the launch is reportedly completed. In the past year, the airline and municipality have been in consultation with the foreign ministry, chamber of commerce, tourism agencies, travel agencies and the involved airports to complete the work. In the period ahead, the main focus will be on advertising the route. The route’s establishment is one of Tabriz Municipality’s ambitions prior to 2018 when the city is chosen as the year’s capital of Islamic tourism.
“The success and prosperity of the Tabriz – Hamburg flights will be a great experience for Qeshm Air to see whether Tabriz has the capability for an expansion of European flights”, Qeshm Air’s CEO Mahmoud Shekarab said.
The route will be operated by Qeshm Air’s newly acquired Airbus A319. The airline expects to add one to two more of the same aircraft type over time.
Tabriz International Airport is connected to a number of domestic and international destinations. Qeshm Air’s regular service to Hamburg will become the airport’s only to a European country (excluding ATA Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Iran Airtours flights to Istanbul, Turkey). On 6 April 2017, Iran’s minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi announced that they currently are in talks with Italian and German investors regarding a new terminal project at Tabriz International Airport.
Photo: Mohammadreza Farhadi Aref
This article has been updated since its publication.