Iran Air

Infobox Airline
airline = Iran Air
ایران ایر

image_size = 180
callsign = IRANAIR
founded = 1962
ceased =
hubs = * Imam Khomeini International Airport
* Mehrabad International Airport
focus_cities = * Mashhad International Airport
* Isfahan International Airport
* Shiraz International Airport
frequent_flyer = SkyGift
lounge =
alliance =
subsidiaries =
fleet_size = 67 (+35 orders) incl. cargo
destinations = 55 in 28 countries
parent = Iran National Airlines Corporation
company_slogan =
headquarters = Tehran, Iran
key_people = * Saeed Hessami (Chairman, CEO)
website = []

Iran Air(PerB|/Farsi:ایران ایر) is the flag carrier airline of Iran, based in Tehran. It operates services to 20 scheduled and 5 charter destinations. The cargo fleet operates services to 35 international and 25 domestic destinations. Its main base is Imam Khomeini International Airport, Tehran.cite news |title= Directory: World Airlines |work= Flight International |page= 94 |date= 2007-04-03]

Its acronym Homa (PerB|هما) is derived from two sources: the initial letters of the name in PerB|هواپیمایی ملی ایران "Havapeyma'i-ye Melli-ye Iran"; and from Homa, a griffin of Persian mythology.



In 1946, a group of businessmen founded Iran's first flag carrier under the name of Iranian Airways. Operations covered domestic and regional passenger and freight services plus a weekly freight service to Europe. The fleet consisted of Douglas DC-3s initially, supplemented by Douglas DC-4 and Vickers Viscount aircraft later on. In 1954 , the privately owned airline Persian Air Services (PAS) was established, which initially operated only freight services, followed by passenger operations between Tehran and major cities in Iran. In 1960 , PAS initiated service to several European destinations, including Geneva, Paris, Brussels and London, using Douglas DC-7C aircraft leased from Sabena. On 24 February 1962, Iranian Airways and PAS were merged to form Iran National Airlines Corporation, known as Iran Air. It was as a public sector venture that combined the assets and liabilities of the two predecessor air carriers. Among the aircraft used were Avro York, Douglas DC-3, Douglas DC-6 and Vickers Viscount. The carrier became a full member of IATA in 1964.

"Iranian Airways" was established in May 1944 and flew its first passenger flight, after World War II, from Tehran to the holy city of Mashhad. Within a period of 17 years (1945-1962) the airline developed into a major domestic carrier, with a few international flights per week.

The board of ministers ratified a proposal to establish a national airline on February 10th, 1961. Following this decision, on February 24th, 1961, "Iranian Airways" and "Pars Airways" (a private airline established in 1954) merged to form the new airline "IranAir" using the "HOMA" bird symbol.

Golden age

In 1965 , Iran Air took delivery of its first jet aircraft, the Boeing 727-100, followed by the Boeing 737-200 in 1971 , the stretched Boeing 727-200 in 1974 , and three variants of Boeing 747s (747-100, -200 and SP) starting in 1975 . By the mid-1970s, Iran Air was serving cities in Europe with non-stop and one-stop flights (there were over 30 flights per week to London alone).

On 8 October 1972, Iran Air placed an order with British Aircraft Corporation for two Concorde supersonic jets plus one option. These orders were canceled in April 1980 in the wake of Iran's Islamic Revolution, making Iran Air the last airline to cancel its Concorde orders.

On 29 May 1975, the Tehran-New York City route was inaugurated first with Boeing 707s making a stop-over in London Heathrow Airport, and shortly thereafter, the route was converted into a non-stop flight using Boeing 747SP, making Iran Air the second Middle Eastern carrier (after El AL) to offer non-stop service to New York. With this flight, Iran Air set a new world record in time and distance for a non-stop, scheduled long-haul flight (12 hours and 15 minutes, 9,867 km - 6,131 mi - 5,328 nm). In 1978 , the airline acquired six Airbus A300B2k aircraft for use on its domestic trunk and busy regional routes. By the end of that year, Iran Air was serving 31 international destinations stretching from New York City to Beijing and Tokyo. Plans were made to offer direct services to Los Angeles and to Sydney, for which the airline's long range 747SP aircraft were ideally suited. This would have allowed Iran Air to use Tehran as a midway point between East and West because of its home base's favorable geographical location. Such plans were never realized.

By the late 1970s, Iran Air was the fastest growing airline in the world, and one of the most profitable. By 1976 , Iran Air was ranked second only to Qantas as the world’s safest airline, having been accident free for at least ten consecutive years. Although both airlines were accident free, Iran Air came second only because of fewer operational hours flown compared to Qantas. Prior to this ranking, a fatal accident occurred on 25 December 1952, in which 27 of the 29 passengers on board perished when their Douglas DC-3 crashed on landing.

After the Islamic Revolution

In the wake of Iran's Islamic Revolution, in February 1979, Iran Air began to reorganize its international operations, discontinuing service to a range of foreign destinations. Tehran was designated as the only official gateway to Iran, while Shiraz could be used as an alternate only in case of operational requirements. All other cities in Iran lost their international status.

The last departure from New York was on 7 November 1979. The last scheduled flight from Tehran to New York City on 8 November 1979 was diverted at the last minute to Montreal, prompted by an embargo suddenly imposed by the US government. Subsequently, the Boeing 747SPs were used on the airline's European and Asian routes. In 1980, the first of six new Airbus A300-B2K joined the fleet.

After the start of the Iran–Iraq War in September 1980, Iran Air's domestic and international operations were often subject to cancellation and irregularity in line with the wartime situation. This continued until August 1988 when a cease-fire agreement took effect. Right from the start of the Iran–Iraq War, Abadan - gateway to Iran's oil-producing region - lost all its air links because the airport had to be closed.

1981 saw the name of the airline changed to The Airline of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran Air carried 1.7 million passengers in that year. In 1990, the first of six Fokker 100 jets was added to the fleet, and five more were added later on. In 2001, the airline bought six second-hand Airbus A310 aircraft (five -200 and one -300 series) since the US authorities blocked the planned purchase of new Airbus A330 units. In 2005, the carrier bought another two ex-Olympic Airlines Airbus A300-600s. In the wake of the growing tension between the US and Iranian governments over Iran's nuclear program, the plan to supply Boeing spare parts or aircraft to upgrade the aging fleet of Iran Air was blocked by the USA and members of the EU. However a new agreement between Iran and the United States at the end of 2006 has changed that and allowed an overhaul of Iran Air's fleet. [ [ Iran/USA agreement] ]

The airline is wholly owned by the Government of Iran and has 7,500 employees.

Iran Air family

Iran Air Cargo

Iran Air Cargo is the freight wing of the airline, in May 2008 it acqired two Airbus A300B4F aircraft to resume freighter operations which were suspended after the grounding of its single Boeing 747-200F cargo aircraft. Freight is also flown with Iran Air's passenger fleet belly-hold capacity.

Iran Air Tours

Iran Air Tours is a low cost airline based at Mashhad International Airport (MHD), and is a subsidiary of Iran Air. Soviet-design Tu-154M jets are the backbone of this airline, although Iran Air Tours has acquired a number of Airbus A300B4 and MD-83 aircraft on lease (and in hybrid livery) from Turkey, increasing its flights to domestic cities like Mashhad, Zahedan, and Ahvaz.

Iran Air Tours initiated scheduled operations in 1990, taking over the bulk of domestic services formerly operated by Iran Air. Iran Air Tours has been responsible for the build-up of an extensive route network focused on the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad, home to Shi'ite Muslims' holiest shrine.

Reservations for Iran Air Tours flights can be made via the Iran Air system, which is the only widely available airline reservations system in Iran.

The carrier also operates charter flights reaching as far as northern Europe.

Homa Hotel Group

Homa Hotel Group is a subsidiary company of Iran Air, which owns a chain of five star hotels in major cities of Iran. These Homa hotels are located in Tehran, Shiraz, Bandar Abbas and Mashad (two hotels). All the hotels were constructed prior to 1979 with the exception of the second Mashad hotel built in the late 1990s.

The hotel group was established by the government after the 1979 Iranian revolution and has more than 800 furnished rooms. Most of the hotels were under private control prior to 1979 but were nationalized soon after. The most famous of these was the Homa Hotel Tehran which used to be the Tehran Sheraton prior to being nationalized in 1979. These hotel are all ranked 5-stars but do not meet international standards in service, decor and facilities.

New livery

In May 2008 the airline introduced a new livery on the two Iran Air Cargo Airbus A300B4Fs.


Hadj and Umrah operations

Hajj charter operations form a major part of Iran Air's annual activities. Every year, tens of thousands of pilgrims fly from major cities in Iran to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia's air gateway to Mecca, to take part in pilgrimage ceremonies.

In 2001, Iran Air carried around 60,000 pilgrims to Jeddah within a span of 40 days. Three hundred and fifty two Hajj charter flights were operated from 17 cities in Iran.

Iran Air also operates charter flights from cities in Iran to Jeddah during the Umrah season. To deal with the operational requirements and to meet traffic demand, the airline leases aircraft including Boeing 747-200s and Airbus A300B2s.


New destinations

In 2008 IKA-Bangkok service is being launched, while Saeed Hessami (chairman) told IRIB television that Iran Air officials will be traveling to Australia in June to discuss the possibility of introducing a Kuala Lumpur-Sydney service which, if agreed, would be introduced in late 2009/early 2010. The Iranian government later decide not to have service to Sydney.


Iran Air has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:

*Air France
*Etihad Airways
*Saudi Arabian Airlines


(Narita International Airport)]

*Iran Air's average fleet age is 19.6 years (as of May 2007). []
*Due to sanctions imposed by the United States government, all Iranian airlines wishing to purchase US-made aircraft can only acquire aircraft which are at least 7 years old, and they only can be purchased through a third party rather than directly from Boeing. Fact|date=June 2007
*The quantity of US-made parts contained on Airbus aircraft means that it is also not possible for an Iranian airline to purchase aircraft directly from Airbus.
*In August 2007, the airline announced an order for 18 Tupolev Tu-204-100 aircraft.
*On 20 December 2006, Iran Air put back into operation one of its Boeing 747-SP aircraft that had been out of operation for many years, after it went through a major overhaul by the local Fajr Shiyan company.
*On 14 August 2007 it was reported [ [ Iran Air ready to resume flying A310s] Flight Global, 14/08/07] that Iran Air had overcome sanctions imposed by the west and that their fleet of A310s are ready to resume service.
*On 21 May 2008 it was reported [ [ Abrar Newspaper ] ] that Iran Air may become subject to a new EU sanction banning all its flights from landing in EU airports. According to Iran Air's managing director Saeed Hesami, EU is citing Iran Air's technical and safety shortcomings as the reason for the imminent ban.

Fleet modernization

*Iran Air is to begin a partial modernization program of its own fleet and that of its subsidiary Iran Air Tours using new-generation Russian aircraft. Five Tupolev Tu-204-100s will be acquired for Iran Air Tours, while two Ilyushin Il-96-300s will be taken on short-term lease for the airline’s mainline fleet, which could lead to an order for four aircraft. The Tu-204 deal has been disclosed by Moscow-based lessor Ilyushin Finance (IFC), which said that the firm contract would be signed by 15 December 2006 with the deal also including five options. Iran Air expects the five firmly ordered twin-jets to be delivered to Iran Air Tours in the second half of 2008 at a rate of one aircraft per month.
*Iran Air will take two Ilyushin Il-96-300s on short-term lease from Russia’s Kras Air in October 2006 and will use these aircraft on a trial basis for up to one year. If they meet its operational requirements, IFC will consider placing an order for a batch of three or four aircraft. Iran Air has also displayed a keen interest in the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and wants to take an in-depth look at the type closer to its roll-out in 2008.
*At August 2007, the airline purchased 4 Fokker 100 from TAM of Brazil.
*Russia’s Ilyushin Finance has signed a preliminary contract with Iran Air Tour at the Dubai Air Show 2007 to supply Iran with 30 Tupolev 204 (Tu-204-100) aircraft. This will increase the total number of Tu204-100 to be delivered to 35.
Iran has about a dozen Soviet-built Tu-154 airliners. In 2006, Russia negotiated the sale of five Tu-204s to Iran.

From June to August 2007 Iran Air operated an Airbus A340-200 leased from Venezuelan Airliner Conviasa. This event marked the first time in Iran's aviation history that an all Iranian crew had operated and administered the process of leasing a passenger plane for Iran's national flag carrier.

Previously operated

*At August 2006 the airline also operated [Flight International, 3-9 October 2006] :
**6 Airbus 310-200
**7 Fokker 100
*At December 2005 the airline also operated: Fact|date=June 2007
**2 Airbus A300B4
** Tupolev Tu-154

Iran Air have retired some of their 747SP, 747-100B and 747-200B. The 737-200s and 707s were retired in the mid 1990s.Fact|date=February 2007

Incidents and accidents

*December 25, 1952; Iran Air Douglas DC-3; Tehran, Iran: 27 fatalities and two survivors
*January 21, 1980; Iran Air Boeing 727-86; near Tehran, Iran: The aircraft hit high ground in a snowstorm during the approach to land. All eight crew members and 120 passengers were killed.
*On 3 July, 1988, Iran Air Flight 655 was flying over the Persian Gulf on its way to Dubai from Bandar Abbas. According to US version of events the "USS Vincennes" U.S. Navy cruiser mistook the airliner for an Iranian F-14 Tomcat, and the cruiser shot the airliner down with a missile killing all 16 crew and 274 passengers. At the time, there were Iranian and American naval skirmishes. Iranians maintain it was an intentional act of barbarism . [International Court of Justice. [ Aerial Incident of 3 July 1988 (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America) — Iranian submission: Part IV B, The shooting down of flight IR 655] , para. 4.52-4.53. Accessed 2007-01-20.] The United States called the incident a mistake. [ Military Blunders]] Furthermore the United States, through Vice President George H. W. Bush expressed regret and promised to compensate victims, but that the money would not go through the Iranian government. [cite news|publisher=Newsweek|title=Perspectives|page=15|date=August 15, 1988 Retrieved September 13, 2006] "Newsweek" published a long article titled "Sea of Lies" that largely blamed Capt. Will Rogers, the "Vincennes’" commander. [cite news | last = Barry | first = John | | coauthors = and Roger Charles | date = 1992-07-13 | title = Sea of Lies | work = Newsweek ] [ [ SEA OF LIES - USS Vincennes shootdown of Iran Air Flight 655 on July 3, 1988 ] ]
*On 2 January 2008 an Iran Air Fokker 100 (EP-IDB) plane carrying 100 passengers skidded off the runway after its wing caught fire when taking off for a domestic flight to Shiraz Airport from Mehrabad Airport. No-one was injured in the accident, which happened amid heavy snowfall at the airport.cite web|url=|title=Iran Air plane skids off runway, passengers safe|publisher=AFP|accessdate=2008-01-05]
*On 4 January 2008 an Iran Air B747-100B had three of its engines catch fire whilst landing at Imam Khomeini Airport. Luckily, the heavy snowfall put the fires out and the airplane returned to service two days after the incident.


ee also

*Tourism in Iran
*Airlines of Iran
*Iran Aviation Industries Organization

External links

* [ Iran Air UK web site]
* [ Iran Air]
* [ SkyGift Iran Air Frequent Flyer Club]
* [ Iran Air Cargo]
* [ Iran Air Tours]
* [ Homa Hotel Group]
* [ The evolution of the Iranian airline industry]

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