Dubai airline Emirates has announced that it will launch a new service to Mashhad in Iran from September 1.
Mashhad will be Emirates’ second destination in Iran after Tehran. The carrier will operate five weekly services to the Iranian city using a combination of a three and two class configured Airbus A330-320 aircraft, a statement said.
Emirates’ services to Mashhad will be operated on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from Dubai.
The airline said that the flight timings are scheduled to facilitate onward connections via Dubai to various points in the GCC, India and the Far East.
The new service will also offer convenient connections to Stockholm and various cities in the UK that are home to large Iranian communities.
Emirates’ latest service also aims to tap into the growing number of business visitors to Iran.
Mashhad is the second largest city in Iran and attracts more than two million foreign visitors per year. The city also hosts numerous international exhibitions each year and is the second most active exhibition centre after Tehran.
Last year, Emirates carried more than half a million passengers to and from Iran.
The Dubai airline is also aiming to tap into the influx of tourists to the Persian country.
The country has 17 UNESCO-registered world heritage sites and plans to boost its total travel and tourism contribution to GDP to $8.9bn by 2024 (7.5 per cent of GDP), according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Emirates also recently operated a one-off A380 to Tehran, reportedly to gauge the possibility of capacity expansion on the route.
The airline’s Dubai hub, which has strong trade and investment links to Iran, stands to benefit immensely if the current economic sanctions on the Persian country are lifted.
The majority of Iran’s trade with its neighbouring Gulf countries is done through Dubai, which in turn positively impacts sectors such as aviation, construction, logistics and tourism in the emirate.