Official: Number of flights from Iran decreased by 30 percent during Nowruz

Azerbaijan, Baku, Apr.14/ Trend G.Mehdi/

The number of flights carried out from Iran decreased by 30 percent during the Nowruz holidays (March 14-April 5) compared to the same period of the previous year, Mehr News Agency reported with reference to the head of Iranian airlines association Abdolreza Mousavi.

Increase of ticket prices and foreign currency exchange rates were the main reasons in this regard, he added.

During the mentioned period, 14,362 national and international flights were carried out, he noted.

Iranian airlines are unable to pay off its fuel debts to the Oil Ministry due to its bad financial situation, Abdolreza Mousavi said.

With the rising foreign currency exchange rates and fuel prices, the goal of expanding passenger seats will never be realized, he added.

Many airplanes of the national fleet have been grounded due to financial problems, he said, adding that spare parts and components are purchased from second-hand sources with great difficulties.

On January 14, Iran increased the price of fuel for international flights by 14,200 rials ($1.1) to 21,200 rials ($1.7), a triple rise within a week, The Jomhouri Eslami daily reported.

"The U.S. has been trying to ground the Iranian civil aviation industry for thirty years, but they could not. Instead, the Iranian authorities grounded the industry within a week by increasing fuel prices by 14,200 rials," Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard, deputy speaker of Iran's Majlis (parliament), commented.

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

Iranian airlines increased ticket prices for domestic flights by about 65 percent as of November 6, 2012.

That's why the director of the Civil Aviation Organization Hamid Pahlavani announced on October 10 that Iranian airlines will increase ticket prices for domestic flights by maximum 50 percent.

Pahlavani added that different factors, including foreign currency prices, are considered to influence the ticket prices.

The managing director of Airtour passenger airline said in October that the airline has suffered 200 billion rials (some $16 million) loss as the administration will no longer provide the airline with dollar at 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 official-rate dollar, the airline has to pay costs based on the free market dollar, Sirous Baheri noted.

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