Despite a pandemic that has largely disrupted, mainly, international air traffic, IranAir launches two new services to Europe. The national carrier rarely launches new routes, due to a number of reasons but not least due to a limited fleet, which makes the addition of two new routes during these times remarkable.
IranAir’s two new destinations are Manchester, UK and Madrid, Spain. Aviation Iran reported in November 2019 about the airline’s intention to add Madrid to its network but Manchester was unprecedented up until a few weeks before the launch on 4 July 2020. The Madrid service is planned to be launched on 2 September 2020. Both routes are operated by Airbus A330; flight details as follows:
|Frequency||Departure time||Arrival time||Flight number|
|Tehran – Madrid||Wednesday||08:50||14:15||IR731|
|Madrid – Tehran||Wednesday||15:30||22:50||IR730|
|Tehran – Manchester||Saturday||05:55||09:00||IR753|
|Manchester – Tehran||Saturday||10:10||19:55||IR752|
Booking is currently open until 21 October 2020 for Madrid and 26 September 2020 for Manchester. Whether the services will continue beyond these dates, operate seasonally, or simply end, remains unknown. The two services might possibly only compensate for the temporary suspensions of the airline’s many European routes following the pandemic and that their resumptions in Winter schedule 2020 are hopeful.
Direct flights between Tehran and Manchester were last operated by Mahan Air around ten years ago, while direct flights to Madrid were last operated by IranAir nearly seventeen years ago. Mahan Air also intended to operate flights to Madrid when it launched flights to Barcelona in June 2017, which carried on until March 2020. During the pandemic, most of the repatriation flights operated by IranAir, after Italy, were to Madrid (four flights) which is notable.
Many countries suspended air traffic since the pandemic broke out earlier this year. Iran’s international air traffic has taken a big hit and while there has been a slight increase in passenger numbers recently, it is not near levels experienced last year. IranAir operates all European flights out of Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport. The airport has officially not reported statistics for June-July 2020 (Tir).
Hover your mouse over the points to see detailed passenger numbers and corresponding Iranian months.
IranAir’s flights to Italy were planned to resume on 14 July 2020 with a once-weekly service to Milan but Italian authorities suspended the plans with one week to go. On 15 August 2020, IranAir could proceed with the plans and on the same day, IranAir also resumed flights to Vienna. When or whether flights to Rome will resume is still unclear.
According to the Association of Iranian Airlines (AIRA), IranAir is still in talks with German authorities to resume flights in early September. Germany is IranAir’s biggest market in Europe, with three destinations and six weekly flights. Sweden and Germany were the first two European countries to temporarily suspend IranAir’s traffic rights in March 2020. Sweden’s stance seems to have remained unchanged, judging from IranAir’s public communication.