Number of air passengers in Iran drops due to increased ticket prices

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 8 / Trend F.Mehdi/

The recent 60-70 per cent increase in Iranian airlines ticket prices have caused a 50 per cent fall in the number of passengers, according to the Mehr News Agency.

On Monday many domestic flights were cancelled because the Nation Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) had not provided the airlines with fuel due to their outstanding debts.

NIOPDC says the airlines owe five trillion rials (about $410 million) to the company. The airlines believe that rising fuel prices has increased their costs up to 300 per cent.

Iranian airlines increased ticket prices for domestic flights by 65 per cent on average as of November 6, 2012.

This is while the director of the Civil Aviation Organization Hamid Pahlavani announced on October 10 that Iranian airlines will be increasing ticket prices for domestic flights by maximum of 50 per cent.

Pahlavani added that different factors including foreign currency prices, are considered when setting ticket prices.

The managing director of the Airtour passenger airline said in October that the airline has suffered a 200 billion rials (some $16 million) loss as the administration will no longer provide the airline with dollars at a reference rate of 12,260 rials. Therefore, the airline cancelled all its international and tourism flights, ILNA reported.

As the administration does not provide the airline with an official rate dollar, the airline has to pay costs based on the free market dollar, Sirous Baheri noted.

International sanctions on Iran have hindered the process of the repair of passenger planes in the country, IRNA quoted managing director of Iran's national air carrier (Iran Air), Farhad Parvaresh, as saying in December 2012.

Periodic checking of the planes may be prolonged due to lack of certain parts, but there is no plane grounded, he added.

For the time being, Iran Air operates 47 planes with a total 10,500 seats, he noted.

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