The tourism and trading between Iran and Greece have increased the past few years. One year ago there was no commercial air route linking Iran with its neighbour in west. On 14 June 2015, Mahan Air, started a three weekly service from Tehran to Athens as summer seasonal. It was operated till the end of the summer by A340-300/600, making it the first European destination operated by the airline’s aircraft type. On 22 July 2015 the national airline of Greece, Aegean Airlines, started an all-year service on the same route providing three weekly flights.
In just one and a half month the number of flights between Tehran and Athens went from zero, to six. Now Aegean has announced one additional weekly flight to Tehran, commecing 28 March 2016 making it four weekly. It is unclear whether Mahan Air will operated Athens in Summer 2016 again.
Mahan Air and Nouroz, Summer seasonal flights
Nouroz starts in the end of March and ends a few weeks later, celebrating the Persian New Year. It is in the time when air travelling in Iran starts to increase at most, and the trend continues all the way till the summer holiday is finished by September month. All the Iranian airlines are right now discussing in meetings with the CAO on how the Nouroz flights should be controlled and how the ticket prices should be set. Flight ticket prices in Iran are controlled by the Government, but is ready to be liberalized during the coming Nouroz. The liberalization will first apply to flights on busy routes to Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz and Tabriz.
Many people travel to family in other Iranian cities during the Nouroz and summer holidays, but lately it has become more popular for Iranians to travel abroad. Mahan Air was, and still is, well known about the demand and offered, like mentioned above, flights to Athens. But that was only the icing on the cake.
Following the acquisition of seven relatively young A340-300s and one A340-300, Mahan Air could expand its summer seasonal route network. Being an expansive airline with new aircraft and good service, Mahan Air is considered by many as the number one airline in Iran.
For the Summer 2015, Mahan Air announced new seasonal charter flights to destinations such as Goa, Larnaca, Varna, Mauritius, Sochi, Maldives, Colombo and Isparta. Mahan Air was the sole airline operating those routes, besides Isparta which many other airlines operated, and Larnaca where they competed with Qeshm Air.
For the Nouroz and Summer 2016 much of Mahan Air’s plans is not revealed but one new seasonal destination has been reported. Starting by the end of March 2016, Mahan Air will fly charter flights from Tehran to Hanoi. This will be the very first time a flight between Iran and Vietnam will occur.
Photo: Allen Zhao