Iran roads minister: Aviation industry unsatisfactory
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sep.11/ Trend R.Zamanov
The situation of Iran's aviation industry is not satisfactory, the Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi said on Wednesday.
"The country's aircraft are old raising safety concerns," the Tasnim News Agency quoted Akhoundi as saying.
"Customers are not satisfied with the service the domestic airlines provide," he added.
He went on to note that old aircraft consume more fuel compared to the new ones; therefore the new ones are economically justified.
Managing Director of Iran's Airtour Airline, Sirous Baheri said on September 1 that over 60 per cent of Iran's total 220 planes are grounded due to technical and logistic issues. The fleet is an average 22 years old, the ISNA News Agency reported.
"Iranians airlines are facing great losses due to the low price of domestic flight tickets," Baheri said.
"They are currently having difficulties competing with foreign airlines," he added.
"Not having connections with the manufacturers is one of the main problems of the domestic airlines which has made it difficult for them to repair their aircraft," Baheri stated.
The head of the association of Iranian airlines Abdolreza Mousavi said in May that Iranian airlines are unable to pay off their fuel debts to the Oil Ministry due to their bad financial situation.
"Many aircraft 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 difficulty.
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 30 years, but they could not. Instead, the Iranian administration grounded the industry within a week through increasing fuel prices by 14,200 rials," Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard, deputy speaker of Iran's Majlis (parliament), commented.
The recent 60-70 per cent increase in Iranian airlines ticket prices have caused a 50 per cent fall in the number of passengers, Mehr News Agency said.