|Founded||1944 as Iranian Airways Company |
|Commenced operations||1961 as Iran Air|
|Parent company||Iran National Airlines Corporation|
|Headquarters||Mehrabad Airport, Tehran, Iran|
|Key people||Farhad Parvaresh, Chairman & CEO|
Iran Air - The Airline of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: هواپیمايی جمهوری اسلامی ایران Havapeyma'i-ye Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān) is the flag carrier airline of Iran, operating services to 80 destinations. The airline's cargo fleet, operated by subsidiary Iran Air Cargo, operates services to 20 scheduled and 5 charter destinations. Its main bases are the Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport for international flights and Tehran Mehrabad Airport for domestic flights . It is headquartered on the grounds of Mehrabad Airport in Tehran.
Iran Air is also referred to by its Persian acronym, Homa (Persian: هما), which is derived from two sources: the initial letters of Iran Air's pre-Revolutionary Persian name, Havapeyma'i-ye Melli-ye Iran (Persian: هواپیمایی ملی ایران); and from Homa, a griffin of Persian mythology.
- 1 History
- 2 Homa (Iran Air's) Logo History
- 3 Subsidiaries
- 4 Corporate offices
- 5 Services
- 6 Destinations
- 7 Fleet
- 8 Incidents and accidents
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
In 1944, 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 other 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 merged to form the Iran National Airlines Corporation, known as Iran Air. It was 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, from 1945 to 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 10 February 1961. Following this decision, on 24 February 1961, "Iranian Airways" and "Pars Airways", a private airline established in 1954, merged to form the new airline "Iran Air", using the "HOMA" bird as a symbol.
In 1965, Iran Air took delivery of its first jet aircraft, the Boeing 707 and 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 1978–1979. By the mid-1970s, Iran Air was serving cities in Europe with non-stop and one-stop flights, including over 30 flights a 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. One was leased for a few flights from Tehran to Kish Island, but never appeared in Iran Air Livery. These orders were cancelled in April 1980, in the wake of the Iranian Revolution, making Iran Air the last airline to cancel its Concorde orders.
On 29 May 1971, the Tehran to New York City route was inaugurated, first with Boeing 707s, making a stop-over at London Heathrow Airport. Shortly thereafter, the route was converted into a non-stop flight using Boeing 747SPs, 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 Boeing 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 had 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 Iranian Revolution
In the wake of the Iranian 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. However, in recent times, many of Iran's major city airports have regained a minor international status. These direct international flights using airports in other major Iranian cities currently serve regional countries. 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 U.S. government following the occupation of the US embassy in Tehran by revolutionary students. Subsequently, the Boeing 747SPs were used on the airline's European and Asian routes.
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, the gateway to Iran's oil-producing region, lost all its air links, because the airport had to be closed.
The year 1981 saw the formal 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 U.S. authorities blocked the planned purchase of any new Airbus A330 units. In 2005, the carrier bought two Airbus A300-600s from Olympic Airlines. In the wake of the growing tension, between the U.S. 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. The airline is wholly owned by the Government of Iran and has 7,500 employees.
Ongoing refueling conflict and EU ban
On 5 July 2010, an aviation official for Iran accused the U.K., Germany and the United Arab Emirates of refusing to refuel Iranian passenger jets. This move follows unilateral sanctions imposed by the US over the nuclear weapons dispute. Iran Air and Mahan Air both claim to have been denied refuelling. A spokeswoman for Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) said that there is a contract with Iranian passenger flights to refuel and ADAC will continue to do so. A spokesperson for the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority said that it is the sole decision of independent suppliers if planes are to be refuelled or not. Germany's Transport Ministry said the refuelling of Iranian planes was not banned under EU or UN sanctions but did not say whether any independent refuellers were denying refuelling. Later in the day, Dubai revealed that they too continue to refuel Iranian passengers flights in and out of Dubai. The next day, a spokesperson for Iran said that no such limitation had been imposed.
On 6 July 2010, it was announced that the European Commission would ban all of Iran Air's Airbus A320, Boeing 727 and Boeing 747 fleet from the EU over safety concerns. This move came as a major blow to Iran Air, limiting flights to Europe with its own aircraft.
As a result of a move in March 2011, when a majority of the EU airports refused refuelling services to Iran Air, most of Iran Air services originating from Western Europe to Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport started landing in Belgrade, Serbia in order to refuel. On May 22 Switzerland has also announced that it will stop the supply of Iranian airliners on their flights from Geneva. Following three months of refuelling operations, the Belgrade airport authorities gradually suspended the contract with Iran Air.
Since this cessation of the contract, Iran Air aircraft operated technical stops in Minsk, Belarus and Kiev, Ukraine, en route to Tehran, forcing aircraft to make a significant detour from their original flight-path, especially if flying from airports located far on the western end of Europe such as Paris.
However, as of 2012, the EU re-allowed the refuelling of Iran Air aircraft at secondary European airports such as Ljubljana and Budapest, in an effort to retain the refuelling contracts within the EU, rather than letting them go to Serbia or later Belarus and Ukraine.
Until January 2012, Iran Air's flights to and from London Heathrow operated with a fuel stop at Manston Airport in Kent. However, the airport announced in December 2011 that this arrangement was to end, and it would no longer refuel the company's aircraft. This announcement swiftly followed the closure of Iran's embassy in London as a consequence of the ransacking of the British embassy in Tehran by a student mob. The airport stressed that it had not breached any trade agreements, as it had no connections with the USA.
As of July 2015, Iran Air's flights to and from Western Europe usually make a stopover in Prague.
Homa (Iran Air's) Logo History
After the Iran National Airline was registered as a national company, it officially started under the acronym "HOMA," made by combining initial letters of the Persian phrase. For both brevity and clarity, Iran National Airline changed to IranAir. To choose the logo, a logo competition announcement appeared in Kayhan and Ettelaat newspapers in 1961. Judges came from the College of Fine Arts. Inspired by an image atop one of the columns at Persepolis, a young Iranian's sketched the competition's winning image. Edward Zohrabian was only 22 when he drew the well enduring logo of the Airline of the Islamic Republic of Iran by drawing upon a series of ancient Iranian motifs. His most significant inspiration was Homa, the Persian mythological griffin, which can be found in prosperous Persepolis and described in the books of R. Grishman, the famous French archeologist who specialized in ancient Iran. The griffin atop the Persepolis column has three distinct characteristics: an eagle's head, a cow's ears and a horse's mane. Without legs, according to some accounts, the griffin never rests, living its entire life flying invisibly high above the earth, and never alighting on the ground. The color offered by the designer was turquoise.
Iran Air Cargo
Iran Air Cargo is the freight wing of the airline. In May 2008, it acquired 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 Airtour is a low cost carrier, based at the Mashhad International Airport (MHD) and is a subsidiary of Iran Air. Soviet-designed Tu-154M jets were 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 the 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 the Imam Reza shrine, one of the holiest shrines of the Shi'a Muslims.
Reservations for Iran Air Tours flights can be made via the Iran Air system. The carrier also operates charter flights.
Homa Hotel Group
Homa Hotel Group is a subsidiary company of Iran Air, which owns a chain of hotels in the major cities of Iran. Homa Hotels are located in Tehran, Shiraz, Bandar Abbas and Mashhad, where there are 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.
|This section requires expansion. (February 2012)|
Iran Air's London offices are currently in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. The airline moved there by Wednesday 4 January 2012. Iran Air previously had its Piccadilly main sales office in the City of Westminster. In 1992 protesters threw firebombs at the Piccadilly office. As of 2011 Iran Air still had a model of an Iran Air Concorde in the windows of the London office. The airline had signed up to be a customer of the aircraft, but the airline never regularly operated Concorde, only leasing the aircraft for a short period.
Hajj 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. 352 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.
As of July 2015, Iran's air fleet has planes averaging 23 years in age, which is almost twice the international average. Iran Air operates the following aircraft (as of March 29, 2015) and needs to purchase at least 100 wide-body and short-haul jets in the future:
|Iran Air Fleet|
|Aircraft Type||Active||Stored||Orders||Passengers||Year of entry||Notes|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-82||1||—||—||12||133||145||2013||Leased from Iran Air Tour.|
|Iran Air Cargo Fleet|
|Douglas DC-3||up to 40||1972||13 aircraft crashed.|
|Douglas DC-4||up to 5||1960s||1 aircraft crashed.|
|Douglas DC-6B||up to 9||1972|
|Vickers Viscount||4||1960s||1 aircraft crashed. 1 aircraft Sold to Central African Airways.|
|Lockheed L-749 Constellation||?||?|
|Concorde ||3||1975||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 making Iran Air the last airline to cancel its Concorde orders. 1 was leased from British Airways.|
|Douglas DC-9||1||1976||Rented from Martinair.|
|Vickers Super VC10||?||?|
|Boeing 707-300||5||Around 2000|
|Boeing 727-100||3||2006||One (EP-IRB) preserved outside the Iran Air Simulator. One (EP-IRD) crashed.|
|Boeing 727-200 Advanced||4||2014||EP-IRR made an emergency landing at Tehran in October 2011 but was repaired. EP-IRP crashed in January 2011. All the remaining Iran Air Boeing 727-200 Advanced units are grounded but they're still listed as active fleet in Iran Air's website.|
|Boeing 747-100||1||January 2014||Registration EP-IAM. Last operator of Boeing 747-100.|
Aircraft acquired by Iran Air must have less than 10% of US-manufactured components on board and must not have belonged to a US airline since registration. As most Airbus aircraft are powered by General Electric, CFM, Pratt and Whitney or Rolls-Royce engines, Iran Air has not been able to acquire many of their aircraft. Since purchasing from American or European manufacturers directly is prohibited under US and EU sanctions, Iran Air turns to third-party airlines as well as Russian manufacturers.
Following an interim nuclear deal with the P5+1 group, it was announced that Iran Air would be able to receive spare parts for its planes from Boeing. In 2014, Iran Air was able to purchase instruction manuals, drawings, and navigation charts from Boeing. In 2015, Iran Air received seven engines from its planes after they were repaired. There are also several other engines under repair by Boeing in a foreign country.
Incidents and accidents
- 21 January 1980: Iran Air Boeing 727–286; 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.
- 3 July 1988: Iran Air Flight 655 was flying over the Persian Gulf on its way to Dubai from Bandar Abbas. According to the U.S. version of events, the USS Vincennes 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. Iran maintains it was an intentional act of barbarism. The United States called the incident a "mistake", although the Airbus airliner was over 20 times larger in size than an F-14 jet, within close proximity to the ship's long range radars. 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. Newsweek published a long article titled "Sea of Lies" that largely blamed Capt. Will Rogers, the Vincennes’ commander.
- 2 January 2008: Iran Air Fokker 100 EP-IDB carrying 100 passengers skidded off the runway after its wing caught fire, when taking off for a domestic flight to Shiraz International Airport from Mehrabad Airport. No one was injured in the accident, which happened amid heavy snowfall at the airport.
- 18 November 2009: Iran Air Fokker 100 EP-CFO suffered an undercarriage malfunction on take-off from Isfahan International Airport. The aircraft was on a flight to Mehrabad Airport, Tehran when the undercarriage failed to retract. The aircraft landed at Isfahan but was substantially damaged when the left main gear collapsed. There were no casualties in this event.
- 15 January 2010: Iran Air Fokker 100 EP-IDA, operating Flight 223 was substantially damaged when the nose gear collapsed after landing at Isfahan International Airport. There were no casualties in this incident.
- 9 January 2011: Iran Air Flight 277, a Boeing 727-200 (registration EP-IRP) originating from Tehran crashed near its destination city of Orumiyeh, 740 kilometres (460 mi) northwest of Tehran. It was carrying 105 people, of whom 28 survived. Bad weather conditions during landing led to a go around.
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