Tehran airport head dismissed after three days of chaos
( dpa ) - The chaos this week at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA), including almost three days of flight delays and cancellations due to snowfalls, led to the dismissal of the IKIA head, the Fars news agency reported Saturday.
Gholam-Hossein Baqerian, who had been IKIA head since 2003, was dismissed by the Civil Aviation Organization whose spokesman however refrained from giving a reason for the dismissal.
The new IKIA airport, which became fully operational in November, is located about 50 kilometres south of the Iranian capital, and passengers can only return to the city by airport taxis.
Following heavy snowfalls in Tehran and temperatures below minus 10 degrees, almost no international flight at IKIA could start from Sunday to Tuesday due to poor technical facilities, including cleaning of the frozen runway.
Passengers, some of whom forced to wait at the airport for more than 60 hours, bitterly complained that airport officials did not even give them clear information on whether their flights would be cancelled, leaving them unsure whether they should take the long journey back to the city or wait at the busy airport.
Furthermore huge numbers of passengers and frozen roads meant there were not enough taxis available, and the few taxis there were charged up to three times the normal fare.
One of the most prominent victims of the IKIA chaos was Germany's Hansa Rostock football team, which was in Tehran for a friendly game on Saturday, but remained stuck at the airport from Sunday morning to Tuesday evening when the plane eventually took off for neighbouring Dubai.
It was for the first time in Iran that civil air transportation has been disrupted for three consecutive days. Passengers blamed the disruptions on the new airport, which they said lacked the necessary facilities.
They claimed such a situation never occurred in the previous Mehrabad airport in western Tehran.