AirAsia X has confirmed that it will resume flights to Iran this summer, for the first time in almost four years.
Kuala Lumpur’s AirAsia X and Bangkok’s Thai AirAsia X will both start flying to the Iranian capital Tehran next month. For the Thai low-cost carrier, this will mark its first ever flights to Iran, and to the Middle East. The Malaysian airline meanwhile, will be resuming a route it previously suspended in October 2012, when the impact of sanctions against Iran made services unviable.
Much has changed since 2012 however, with the easing of sanctions against Iran bringing about significant changes in the country’s travel and tourism industry. The Iranian government has already placed large aircraft orders to modernise its country’s air fleet, including a deal for Iran Air’s first Airbus A380s, and groups such as AccorHotels and Melia have signed their first Iranian hotels.
“We are very happy to be in Tehran today to announce this new connectivity into our flight network connecting Asia and Australasia with the Middle East,” said Benyamin Ismail, CEO of AirAsia X.
“The recent lifting of sanctions opens up exciting new prospects for Iran as a tourist destination. We believe that the revival of direct flights to Tehran from Kuala Lumpur is timely and we foresee that our direct flights from both ASEAN cities of Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok can improve bilateral relations while encouraging trade and tourism activities between the cities.”
Malaysian AirAsia X will start flying to Tehran on 21 June 2016. Services will run three times a week, departing KLIA2 every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 1905 and arriving in the Iranian capital at 2340. The return flights will leave Tehran every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 0105 and arrive back in KL at 1245.
Thai AirAsia X’s flights will commence a day later on 22 June and will also operate three times a week, leaving Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1510 and arriving in Tehran at 2020. The inbound flights will then depart at 2150 on the same days of the week and arrive back in the Thai capital at 0800 the next morning.
Both routes will be served using AirAsia X’s fleet of 377-seat, two-class Airbus A330-300 aircraft, which feature flat-bed seats in the premium cabin. Passengers will also be able to connect to AirAsia’s vast regional network of destinations using the airline’s ‘Fly-Thru’ transfer service at KLIA2 and Don Mueang airports.
AirAsia X will complete with Mahan Air on both routes, and also with Iran Air on the KL service