Ministry to reactivate ‘dormant airports across country’

TEHRAN, Feb. 02 (MNA) – Minister of Road and Urban Planning has told Parliament open session trade agreements worth €10bn shortly after JCPOA implementation would seem ‘ludicrously unrealistic.’

Abbas Ahmad Akhundi provided Parliament open session of Tuesday with a report of Iran’s agreements with EU air industries to buy aircrafts notably with Airbus. He told Parliament that the agreement would not provide Iran with all planes it needed, however, in short-term, “we will received 118 Airbus different models to renovate the old fleet of the airlines.”

“In the first place, recent visit to France by President Rouhani brought to reality an agreement with Airbus to buy 118 planes worth €10.5bn. 45 Airbus A320, 45 Airbus A330, 16 Airbus A350, and 12 Airbus A380 were ordered,” Akhundi told the Parliament. “All these are mid- and long-range planes which would effectively make possible establishing of long-range routes of nonstop flights to farthest point on earth from Iran.”

“For short-range destinations inside the country, an accord also was signed with ATR which will provide Iran with 20 propeller 70-passenger short-range planes; the total seat purchased exceeds the current seat of the Iranian air fleet and will double the fleet capacity,” he rejoiced to tell the Parliament which has proved equally callous and indifferent to national improvements in the transportation. “We will be receiving ATR planes beginning now and until 2019 in a course of 3 years,” he added.

Akhundi also announced an accord with France to extend Imam Khomeini International Airport terminals within a year; “along with this development, the current terminal will be significantly improved and a second terminal ‘Salam’ will be constructed as well to improve the passenger handling capacity to 12 million per annum; a fourth terminal ‘Iranshahr’ will be operative then which will contribute to this capacity and rise it to 45 million passengers annually,” he asserted.

“An MoU was also signed to renovate Mashhad International Airport which aims to add another 4.5 million passenger to its current capacity; development of Isfahan airport is also on the agenda to make the airport international in standards of operation; extension of airports of Tabriz, Bushehr, Ahvaz, and Shiraz is also under negotiation with foreign contractors,” he detailed.

Akhundi’s report draws a grim image of the air fleet as 100 planes are grounded and 150 flying planes have overflown for 20 years; “of a total of 54 airports across the country, 8 airports handle 80 per cent of the flights; 46 airports operates with very low capacity; of international flights, 80 per cent is operated in 3 airports, with IKA (Imam Khomeini International Airport) gains a revenue exceeding the sum of revenues of 53 other airports; this shows asymmetry in development of airports and invites more attention to underdeveloped regions,” he said.  

“Our figures show that from 2011 to 2014, Iranians have bought tickets from foreign airlines worth of staggering $12bn; Persian Gulf states handled 88 million passengers annually while Iran’s share was only 4.6 million passengers, which is a clear indication that we have miles to go in terms of hitting better scores,” said the minister. “Part of the fleet will be deployed in underdeveloped airports to help them flourish over time; we divide the country to different zones in terms of airport quality and will allocate planes equally to these zones.”

Akhundi mentioned the ambitious 500 airplane renovation scheme, with another 200 planes leased by the relevant company; we will support private airlines purchase of aircraft through credits provided by National Development Fund; along with this, repair and maintenance hubs will be established in different parts of Tehran according to other agreements with Airbus,” he told the Parliament open session.

 

SH/3040014 

 

News Code 114110

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