Iran 2017 | TRANSPORT | B2B

Iranian airlines are looking outward at international destinations to make Iran the regional epicenter and eyeing investment to expand their fleets.

SAyed Reza Mousavi
Iran Airtour Airline
Mohammed Taghi Jadidi
Vice Chairman of the Board & Managing Director
Kish Airlines

At which destinations are you particularly looking at for the expansion of your network?

SAYED REZA MOUSAVI The location of Iran can reduce flight times and allows it to be a regional hub, instead of, for example, Istanbul, Doha, or Dubai. If routes from Europe to the Far East are moved from Dubai to Tehran, the total flight time for European travelers would be divided into two equal parts. This reduction means a reduction in costs, which will mean better facilities and services for the customer. This is important for passengers who prefer to have equal routes rather than one short and one long flight. In terms of our international network, Dubai and Istanbul are our priorities.

MOHAMMED TAGHI JADIDI Kish Airlines is a governmental company as it belongs to the Kish Free Zone. Our main aim is to help the Kish Free Zone by bringing Iranians and foreigners to Kish Island. We want to introduce the island to the country and the world. We operate two flights per day between Dubai and Kish. Kish itself can be a good hub, even better than Dubai. There is the potential, however someone should take the extra step to take the island to the next level. Part of the business strategy is expanding our international flight network. We had many requests from Moscow and there were requests from Turkey and European countries, too. The island has such good weather, as well as good sandy beaches. It is an idyllic location with many good restaurants and hotels. The potential for Kish Island to grow is immense, as is the potential for Kish Air to play an instrumental role in this.

Are you looking for investors to finance your further growth ambitions?

SRM We are looking for investors that can bring money to the table. In our MoU with Airbus, financial services were included that prove that Airbus has committed to pre-financing the deal. However, we are looking for investors to increase our financial options. Iran has great potential to absorb investments that can increase the market, as demand is high but the market is inefficient. We want to focus on Tehran and Mashhad. Mashhad is a city without a low season. For the entire year it is full of passengers from Iran and abroad, mostly for religious tourism. Since we have Mashhad as a base, it has been our priority to connect all airports of Iran to Mashhad. Our strategy is to work as a low-cost carrier and connect all the people of Iran, even in the smallest cities. We will follow this strategy for three years and then extend our services.

MTJ We need investments to obtain aircraft. Kish Airlines is operating 70 flights per day now, which is the maximum at our current fleet size. We are now trying to get in touch with credible investors. The sanctions made it hard for every company. Buying aircraft is a big investment, and paying in cash is expensive. We would like to pay through 10-12 years of financing deals. We have the potential to buy at least 10-15 new aircraft. Then we could run more flights to Kish, as well as connections, and create a hub. We have two runways for landing at Kish International Airport with good infrastructure and navigation equipment. The responsible parties in Kish are trying to organize some large ships to facilitate sea travel as well. Kish has made a lot of progress recently, especially since Dr. Mounesan has been in charge of the Kish Free Zone. It is easy for business people to come to Kish because it is a free zone.

What is your outlook for the upcoming year?

SRM Iranian aviation is developing and all the airlines are looking for new aircraft, which means it will be difficult to maintain or increase our market share. We have a well-defined strategy as a low-cost carrier focusing on domestic routes through Mashhad, and we know what we must do. We will work on customer satisfaction and are going to develop our international routes.

MTJ My aim is to expand the company by having more aircraft. Our office capacity is sufficient to operate 30 additional planes. However, we need to find those aircraft to cover the routes we have planned. The amount of passengers being taken to Kish Island has sharply increased, as we have 18-20 flights to Kish per day now. All other domestic airlines are flying to Kish, but almost 50% of the flights to Kish are with Kish Airlines. We will maintain this market position, as well as increase our amount of departures.