Managing Director of Iran's national air carrier, Iran Air, Farhad Parvaresh announced that the country is likely to use Qatari planes for domestic flights.
"Based on the cabotage law which has also been approved by the (Islamic Consultative Assembly) parliament, foreign airline companies can run domestic flights in Iran's internal routes," Parvaresh told reporters on Sunday. He continued saying that based on the cabotage law, the Qataris can also fly in Iran, but under an Iranian company. And the issue is now under study, he added.
And according to ahram online:
Sanctions-hit Iran is taking the unprecedented step of allowing a foreign airline, Qatar Airways, to ply its domestic routes, an Iranian official told the ISNA news agency Sunday.
"The agreements have been done and the time of implementation of this agreement will be announced by the roads and urban development ministry," the deputy minister in that ministry tasked with transport, Shahriar Afandizadeh, was quoted as saying by the ISNA agency.
The deal would see Qatar Airways operate a code-share arrangement with Iranian airlines to comply with laws excluding non-Iranian companies from domestic routes, the CEO of flag-carrier Iran Air, Farhad Parvaresh, told the IRNA news agency.
Qatar Airways, which has a fleet of 97 aircraft and orders for 182 more, currently services international routes between the Qatari capital Doha and the Iranian cities of Tehran, Shiraz and Mashhad.
The Qatari company already has code-share agreements with several foreign airlines on international routes, including US carriers United and US Airways.
Afandizadeh said domestic seats sold on the Qatar Airways planes would be 25 per cent more expensive than the ones run by Iranian airlines, partly because the Qatari aircraft would purchase aviation fuel at the market rate of 60 cents a litre rather than the subsidised 33 cents per litre offered to national companies.
This appears to be a novel way for the Iranians to deal with the US-led sanctions effort that have denied Iranian carriers access to new Boeing and Airbus jetliners, as well as replacement parts for their existing fleets. For the sake and safety of Iran's air passenger customers, hopefully this effort or perhaps one like it will come to fruition.