The national carriers of South Korea and India have confirmed their plans to start flights to Tehran.
In early-October 2016, Aviation Iran reported Korean Air, Air India and Air Canada’s interest in launching flights to Tehran. Now two of the airlines have confirmed their plans.
Although not being the national carrier itself, Air India Express is a subsidiary of Air India. The low-cost airline started flights from Delhi in May 2016 and included Tehran in its plans from one year before. Today, Air India Express announced a thrice weekly Delhi – Tehran route which will start on 1 March 2017.
The route has been approved by India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Flight IX125 will depart from Delhi to Tehran on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 09:30 local time to arrive at 11:45. The return flight, IX126, will one hour later head back to land in Delhi at 18:35. The route operated by B737-800 could start as soonest possible on 16 February 2017.
23 years ago, Air India operated Mumbai – Tehran, a route it announced to consider in September 2016. Air India will also codeshare on the Delhi route, expanding the Air India and Star Alliance network. Air India Express will compete with Mahan Air’s 3-weekly Tehran – Delhi service which began in 2003. In November 2016, Mahan Air will add a second link from Iran to Delhi.
In March 2016, South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport granted permission to Korean Air to operate 4 weekly flights from Seoul to Tehran. Previously announced, Korean Air intended to launch the Tehran route before the end of 2016. However, the plans have been delayed.
In a job ad published by the Persian Group, a company specialising on logistics services it is mentioned that Korean Air is launching flights to Tehran in March 2017. Persian Group is the General Sales Agent of Korean Air’s operations in Iran since April 2016, when the airline’s cargo division started a two-weekly service from Navoi to Tehran. The cargo flights are operated by Uzbekistan Airways but on behalf of the two airlines. By means of this, Korean Air will from March 2017 both have dedicated passenger and cargo flights.
Photo: Sergey Kustov