Dubai-based low-cost carrier flydubai has announced that it will launch four flights a week to Iran starting August. Flights to Iranian capital Tehran will begin on August 10, while flights to Mashhad will start from August 10.
Round trip economy fares from Dubai to Tehran will start at Dhs1,100, while business class return fares will begin at Dhs2,800.
Economy class return fares from Dubai and Mashhad are priced the same at Dhs1,100, while return tickets on business class will start at Dhs3,300.
Flydubai will be the only carrier to offer business class from Dubai to Mashhad.
The carrier further plans to expand its network in the Iranian market, it said in a statement.
“Flydubai’s foray into Iran is as much of a coup as it is a huge opportunity,” said Saj Ahmad, aviation analyst at StrategicAero Research.
“Given the inherent cultural and economic trade links that Dubai has with Iran, services to the capital Tehran and also Mashhad will further boost those ties – and with Iranian carriers struggling under the weight of old airplanes and sanctions, this is a market that flydubai can arguably dominate and expand with ease.”
The carrier’s cargo arm will also gain leverage through the move, he said.
“Iran is a poorly served nation and any in-roads by the likes of flydubai will almost certainly spur regional rivals like Air Arabia, flynas and others to take a second look at the country and see how best they too can compete. Like India, Iran has been on flydubai’s radar for a while and the quick start up of flights implies that they are going to expand not just frequencies, but possibly flights to other cities like Isfahan for example,” Ahmad added.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO at flydubai, said: “We have been building on the momentum of last year and we’ve announced 13 new routes since the start of 2014.
“Our approach to opening up previously underserved markets, including Iran, presents much opportunity for flydubai and enables a greater number of passengers to benefit from Dubai’s efficient aviation hub.”
The carrier took delivery of three new Boeing 737-800s in July, and now has a fleet of 39 aircraft with more than 100 new Boeing aircraft on order.
It began services to Kandahar in July and Aden at the beginning of August and is set to commence flights to Moscow and Kazakhstan in September, Mumbai in October and to Sarajevo and Zagreb in December.