Iranian carrier Mahan Air has re-activated its Boeing 747-300, becoming the only carrier in the world to utilize that variant of the Queen of the Skies for passenger service.
Mahan Air Activates 747-300
Per Sam Chui, Mahan Air has finished rebuilding and maintenance on EP-MNE, a 747-300 that was involved in a crash landing five years ago.
An engine failure in the third engine caused part of it to detach, damaging the fourth engine as well as the structure of the aircraft. However, the aircraft landed safely and all 422 passengers and 19 crew members avoided injury.
Rather than scrap the aircraft, Mahan Air spent the last five years restoring it. It is now apparently airworthy and is currently operating domestic flights between Tehran and:
- Bander Abbas (BND)
- Kish Island (KIH)
- Mashad (MHD)
Why do Iranian carriers operate some of the oldest and most eclectic fleets in the world? One word: sanctions. The United States and European Union have placed sanctions on the Iranian government, curbing its ability to acquire new aircraft.
Sometimes aircraft are still acquired illicitly, as was the case recently with a Fly Armenia Boeing 737-300, but officially the Islamic Republic cannot import airplanes or even parts for its existing fleet.
Consequently, much like vintage cars in Cuba, Iranian carriers like Iran Air and Mahan Air must work with the tools they have, including older aircraft. Recently, Iran Air demanded an update from Boeing on the status of its 80 aircraft order (a mix of 737 MAXs and 777s placed in 2016).
The status of that order and a similar one with Airbus will likely depend upon the degree of cooperation the United States and Iran agree to in terms of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Mahan Air has re-activated its 747-300, becoming the only passenger operator of this aircraft in the world. Currently, the aircraft is only serving domestic routes. If future aircraft orders are denied to Iran, expect this aircraft to remain in service for quite some time.
image: Kurush Pawar