The Lufthansa Group has on many occassions expressed their interest in the Iranian market. They have proposed to establish anything from catering, to MRO facilities in Iran. But only on one condition, the sanctions must be removed, which may take effect in the next coming days.
Austrian Airlines, a part of the Lufthansa Group, ceased operations from Vienna to Tehran in 2013 but resumed the year later. Starting with five weekly flights, the airline has now planned an increase to 10 weekly on 11 March 2016, and two daily from 27 June 2016. This marks Austrian Airlines as the first European airline to offer multiple daily flights into Iran. Thrilled by the oppertunities, Austrian Airlines also announced a new route from Vienna to the cultural city of Isfahan, due to begin on 4 April 2016 with four weekly flights to begin. With this stated, the Austrian airline should offer 18 weekly flights to Iran in Summer 2016. Shiraz has also been mentioned as one of Austrian Airlines’ potential new destiantions.
Even though the airline is increasing flights to Iran, it will decrease the frequency in Winter 2016, reported by Airline Route. This means, Austrian Airlines will operate three weekly flights to Isfahan instead of four after 30 October 2016. Tehran flights will be cut half to one daily.
“We are receiving clear signals of a revival in economic relations between Austria and Iran from the business community and political decision makers”, says Andreas Otto, CCO of Austrian Airlines. “Here we wanted to react quickly.”
Lufthansa themselves offer daily flights from Frankfurt to Tehran with A340-600, but is increasing the weekly seat capacity with 22,5% by changing aircraft to B747-400, as of 27 March 2016. Lufthansa will also resume an old route, to Munich. Starting on 14 April 2016 flights will depart three times per week from Munich to Tehran, operated by an A330-300.
“Following the reduction of sanctions and the re-activation of economic ties related to these, we expect a strong increase in demand for business travel. For cultural travellers Iran will become increasingly interesting as well,” said Thomas Klühr, Member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board, Finances & Hub Munich.
Another member of the Lufthansa Group, the low-cost carrier Eurowings, stated that they will launch flights from Cologne to Tehran on 29 March 2016 starting with one weekly flight and later to two on 6 May 2016, operated by A330-300.
Air Canada will also start to codeshare on all of Lufthansa’s flights to Iran. Canada, among with the US, has a large diaspora of Iranians.
It is worth mentioning that routes that are either being launched or increased from Tehran to Vienna, Frankfurt, Munich and Cologne already are operated by Iran Air or Mahan Air. With these moves the Lufthansa Group is clearly up to challenge with the current airlines operating in Iran. Not least to Turkish Airlines that has a big monopoly on flights to secondary cities, including Isfahan, where Austrian based aircraft soon will touch the ground.
Photo: Aero Icarus