Iran Air to expand UK network

Iran’s flag carrier will open its second route to the UK next month when it begins service to Manchester.

Iran Air plans to launch nonstop flights between Tehran Imam Khomeini (IKA) and Manchester (MAN) from July 4.

The 4,558-km route will be served once per week on Saturdays on board Airbus A330-200 aircraft, becoming the airline’s second to the UK in addition to its 3X-weekly London Heathrow (LHR) service.

The carrier has been the only operator of flights between Iran and the UK since British Airways suspended its LHR-IKA route in September 2018 after claiming it was “not commercially viable.” BA relaunched flights to the Iranian capital in September 2016 following a gap of four years.

According to analysis of Sabre Market Intelligence data, O&D traffic between Iran and the UK totaled 180,262 two-way passengers in 2019, almost the same figure as during the previous 12 months. About 70% of passengers flew indirect, with Turkey the biggest connecting market.

Although O&D traffic between Manchester and Iran was relatively small at 25,656 passengers last year, the figure represented a rise of 3.8% compared with 2018.

The UK city will become the 13th European destination in Iran Air’s network in addition to Amsterdam (AMS), Ankara (ESB), Cologne/Bonn (CGN), Frankfurt (FRA), Goteborg Landvetter (GOT), Hamburg (HAM), Istanbul (IST), LHR, Milan Malpensa (MXP), Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) and Vienna (VIE).

Sabre data shows the UK was the third-largest outbound market in Europe from Iran in 2019 behind Turkey and Germany.

Iran Air’s new flights will depart IAK at 5:55 a.m. and arrive into MAN at 9 a.m. The return leg will depart at 10.30 a.m. and arrive into IAK at 8.15 p.m.

Photo credit: joepriesaviation.net

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