Saturday, November 5, 2011

Qatar Airways and The Iran Connection

Qatar Airways is increasing its presence in Iran. The airline added 31 flights a week to its schedule, bringing it to 52 flights from 31 flights a week, a 150% increase (read the full story). It added a new destination, Isfahan with a daily flight and increased its frequencies to Tehran, Mashad and Shiraz.

What is more interesting is the news that Qatar Airways will start domestic flights within Iran by code sharing with a local carrier (read full story) to get around ownership issues.

Iran has been suffering from sanctions which prevented it from getting spares needed for western aircraft. The safety record of Iran aviation leaves a lot to be desired, 13 incidents since 2008 (view here). Interestingly more incidents on Russian built aircraft than western ones. It is welcome news to have modern well maintained aircraft flying domestic routes. That will definitely be a boost to civil aviation safety.

Qatar Airways will commercially do very well and will be able to channel passengers away from the competition to its regional and international services out of Doha. However, politically this maybe an
enterprise fraught with danger, unless of course the Americans and Europeans have tacitly given their
agreement to this venture. No speculations here, the future will tell.

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