For many years, Iran has been known among the aviation community as the go-to place for flying classic aircraft. With the ageing fleet and lifting of sanctions, the opportunities to fly on many of those types including the Tupolev Tu-154, Boeing 707 and Boeing 747 Classic have disappeared, but Iran still offers many interesting aircraft to fly on. The article below looks at four aircraft types that you can currently only fly on in Iran.
As of now (June 2016), there are four aircraft types that can only be flown in Iran on regular passenger services – Boeing 727, Airbus A300B2/B4, Airbus A300-600 and Antonov An-74. There are also other types that are getting rarer and rarer in spite of flying with non-Iranian airlines as well.
With the economic sanctions being lifted and with Iran signing multi-billion aircraft purchase deals, the ageing Iranian fleet is going to be retired sooner or later. As such, with one-way prices on domestic flights in Iran being affordable at about 50-70USD (when booked locally) and with Iran being an amazing country from many aspects (culture, people, etc.), Iran should be on every aviation enthusiast’s bucket list.
Below, I look more closely at the four types you can currently only fly with Iranian airlines (727, A300B2/B4, A300-600, An-74).
Perhaps the rarest aircraft you can fly in Iran is Boeing 727-200. Iran Aseman Airlines is the last airline in the world to operate this classic trijet on scheduled passenger routes.
While Iran Aseman recently retired one of its four 727s and has started acquiring new aircraft, it still operates three 727s. The aircraft are registered EP-ASA, EP-ASB and EP-ASD and have all been initially delivered to Air France in 1980.
The 727 is known to fly the Tehran to Mashad, Ahwaz, Shiraz and Zahedan routes regularly among other domestic destinations.
- September 2015 / EP3788 / Iran Aseman / 727-200 / Tehran – Shiraz
- September 2015 / EP851 / Iran Aseman / 727-200 / Zahedan – Tehran
- February 2016 / EP830 and EP831 / Iran Aseman / 727-200 / Tehran – Ahwaz – Tehran
Being the first Airbus aircraft type and the first twin engined wide-body, this aircraft is big part of aviation history.
There are reportedly three active A300B2s remaining in the world with two belonging to Iran Air (EP-IBS and EP-IBZ) and one to Mahan Air (EP-MHM). The newer of the two – B4 – is still operated by a handful of cargo operators around the world, however, Iran Air is the last remaining passenger version operator.
While the Iran Air A300B4 currently operates mainly flights to Iraq, the older A300B2 can be seen regularly on domestic flights, mainly on the Tehran to Mashad route.
Major airlines around the world including Lufthansa, Thai Airways and Korean Air operated this type until fairly recently. However, currently, Iranian airlines are the only airlines in the world operating it on regular passenger routes.
Four Iranian airlines – Iran Air, Mahan Air, Meraj Air and Qeshm Air – operate a total of over 20 A300-600s on both domestic and international routes making it a fairly easy type to get on in Iran.
Iran Air, Meraj Air and Qeshm Air operate the A300-600s predominantly on international routes, but you can catch it easily on domestic routes with Mahan Air (Tehran – Mashad, Tehran – Kish, etc.).
The last type that can only be flown in Iran is the Antonov An-74. It is a very interesting aircraft that was originally in cargo configuration, but was later converted to passenger configuration. It is also the only “Eastern” aircraft type on this list.
The An-74 was initially operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, but currently three are in passenger service with Pouya Air.
While I believe the aircraft operates several domestic and international routes, the most widely flown route by aviation enthusiasts seems to be the Tehran to Ilam service.
UPDATE JUNE 28, 2016: Based on the experiences of one of KN Aviation readers, it seems like the only regular service currently operated is the Tehran to Ilam route, twice a week (likely Tuesday and Sunday).
Summary incl. Other Classic Types
While the four types above can currently be only flown in Iran, there are other classic aircraft types that can be flown in Iran as well. The summary below shows the classic aircraft types that you can fly in Iran and the airlines operating them.
- Only in Iran
- Boeing 727-200: Iran Aseman Airlines
- Airbus A300B2/B4: Iran Air
- Airbus A300-600: Iran Air, Mahan Air, Meraj Air, Qeshm Air
- Antonov An-74: Pouya Air
- Other classic types
- Airbus A310-300: Iran Air, Mahan Air
- Fokker 50: Naft Airlines
- McDonnell Douglas MD-82: Iran Air, Iran Air Tours, Kish Air, Taftan Airlines, Zagros Air
- McDonnell Douglas MD-83: ATA Airlines, Caspian Airlines, Kish Air, Zagros Air
- McDonnell Douglas MD-88: Taban Airlines