Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport and Shiraz Shahid Dastgheib Airport are two Iranian airports with high ambitions, currently getting revamped to cater for more aircraft and passengers. In June 2016, it was announced that Shiraz Airport’s new international terminal was scheduled to open in April 2017. However, the plans seem to have been delayed and the physical progress is fairly little. The 21,000 m² terminal will be created with three floors, four air bridges and have a capacity for three million annual passengers. The airport handled 416,903 international passengers in 2016, whereas the new terminal will be capable of seven times more. This somewhat shows the airport’s aim in attracting more international flights. In October 2016, the airport announced that they are in talks with four European airlines but so far only Austrian Airlines has announced a new route to Vienna. On a different matter, Iran’s Ambassador to Austria announced that Austrian Airlines is interested in expanding its Iranian network to a third city, Mashhad, as well as IranAir considering a second weekly flight between Tehran and Vienna.
In May 2017, Reza Badiefard, Fars Province’s Airport Director reported that Shiraz Airport has received two of three purchased fire trucks from Austria. A third fire truck will be delivered within a few weeks and the deal is valued at 12 billion IRR. The Airport Director explained that the airport is investing in higher safety measures due to the demand from the foreign airlines’ side in order to begin flights. Air Arabia, flydubai, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines are currently the only foreign airlines to operate flights to Shiraz.
The new international terminal, initially planned to open one month ago, has reached 35% physical progress. In June 2016, the progress was reported to have reached 16%. The opening is now scheduled for late-2018.
In April 2016, IAC and IAANC signed an agreement with France’s Thales Company to supply Tehran-Mehrabad, Shiraz and Bandar Abbas airports with PSR (Primary Surveillance Radar) and SSR (Secondary Surveillance Radar). The €6 million radar is now being installed in Sepidar Mountain near Meymand, south of Shiraz. The airport is also since two weeks using a new system to manage the number of frequencies used between ground and air, noting ‘a major improvement in quality’.
Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport also plans to increase the capacity, in this instance, the situation concerns two terminals. The exclusively international airport’s currently one and the only terminal is outlined to be capable of serving around five million annual passengers. But, the airport handled nearly eight million passengers last year and the number is expected to rise in 2017. The first new terminal, called Salam, has noted more than 50% physical progress and will be able to handle five to six million annual passengers according to the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development. The terminal was announced to become operational in May 2017 but is now planned to open prior to March 2018.
Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport turned into an airport city under the name Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport City (IKAC) not long ago and the aim is to create a free trade zone. It is planned that the customs of Tehran-IKAC’s free trade zone with an area 130 hectares will commence its procedures in September 2017. More than three months ago, France’s Bouygues backed from the plans to build and run Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport’s second new terminal, Iranshahr Terminal. The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development says it was due to Iran not accepting the French firm’s conditions while Bouygues blames on the struggle of financial backing international banks. NACO, the Dutch firm in charge of the project published a vacancy on 30 January 2017 to find new companies willing to take on the task. More than 40 domestic and foreign companies have shown interest and NACO is now in the process of reviewing the applications.
The Iranshahr Terminal will in the first phase be able to serve a capacity of 25 million annual passengers, a number to be increased with the years to come. The project will be delivered under either a Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) or a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) framework, according to NACO.
In January 2017, Tehran-IKAC’s managing director Mahmoud Navidi told ISNA that Tehran-IKA has received a request from Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization to start handling domestic flights. Tehran-IKA will follow the order with start in two years. Tehran-Mehrabad is Tehran’s domestic airport and Imam Khomeini the international. The idea is that Tehran-IKA will handle some of the domestic flights while Tehran-Mehrabad is closed as scheduled between midnight and early morning.
Tehran’s Mayor had previously announced that Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport would be connected to the city’s metro network on 4 April 2017. However, the test run previously announced to be performed in March 2017, was performed only two weeks ago which has led to the official inauguration being delayed. The inauguration will be held prior to September 2017.
Photo: Ministry of Roads and Urban Development