Declining flights through Iran airspace not related to Russian airstrikes
Tehran, Iran, October 17
By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:
Iran has said that a recent decline in the number of international civil flights travelling through its airspace is not due to recent Russian airstrikes in Syria, despite what has become to be the prevailing belief.
The reason for this decline is heavy investment and promotion by Persian Gulf states such as Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia who are attempting to shift the flights toward their countries, Director of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization Ali Abedzadeh said.
He added that Iran is in contact with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to raise the problem as soon as possible, IRNA news agency reported October 17.
Commenting on Iran's domestic aviation, the official said that that the frequency of takeoffs and landings in the country in the first six months of the current Iranian fiscal year (since March 21) grew by three percent compared to the same period last year.
Abedzadeh further said that the main problem against a robust aviation system in Iran is lack of a sound set of regulations.
He added that another problem on the way of improving the country's aviation system is lack of operational fleet.
Currently, some 37 foreign airlines make flights from Iran to 57 world's airports.
Foreign airlines make flights from 32 points across the world to Iran's cities of Tehran, Shiraz, Abadan, Isfahan, Mashhad, Urmia, Rasht, Tabriz, Ahwaz, Bandar Abbas, and Kermanshah.
Former head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, Ali Reza Jahangirian, said in July that foreign airlines earn some $3 billion by selling tickets in the country annually.
Iran signed $21 billion worth of contracts in the aviation field on the sidelines of the MAKS-2015 International Aviation and Space Salon held in Russia in August.
Some of the aforementioned contracts reportedly are for buying Russian twin-engine Superjet 100 aircraft.
Iran is planning to buy 90 passenger airplanes each year as part of efforts aimed at renovating its civil aviation fleet. Iran is going to buy Airbus and Boeing airliners and the annual purchase of 80 to 90 airplanes is the first phase of the renovation program, Manouchehr Manteghi, secretary of Iran 's Technology Development and Knowledge-based Aviation and Aeronautical Industries Headquarters said.
Iran's four largest carriers -- Iran Air, Aseman Airlines, Mahan Air and Iran Air Tours -- all have average fleet age above 22 years, according to the Iranian media outlets.