Iran Aviation Tour October 2015

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Sanctions by the U.S., European Union and United Nations over the past decade have hit Iran’s aviation industry hard. The restrictions have limited the ability of Iranian airlines to buy parts from Airbus and Boeing; sales of planes to Iran have been all but prohibited.

The historic nuclear deal with Iran gives Boeing Co. and Airbus Group SE a rare opportunity to reshape a civilian aviation industry.

Once the accord is implemented, the republic will be able to start replacing hundreds of museum-vintage jumbo jets that still rumble over Tehran as mainstays of an aviation fleet frozen in time by economic sanctions.

The thaw could give the world’s two biggest planemakers, along with aircraft lessors, sales possibilities similar to those in Russia when its markets opened two decades ago. They are vying to serve the demand for travel that will come with greater consumer spending. Other companies — including cigarette retailers, auto manufacturers and soft-drink purveyors — also are poised to profit once sanctions are lifted.

 ‘Iran will buy a total of 80 to 90 planes a year from the two aviation giants in the first phase of renovating its air fleet’

—Mohammad Khodakarami, the director of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization

2015 may be the last year to see B747-SP, B727 classic etc flying in the sky. Nobody is certain about what the future may bring in the fast changing aviation industry. It is with this mindset I formed the Iran Aviation Tour to provide an opportunity for many of the younger fliers and enthusiasts to go to Iran to sample what yesteryear aviation offers, before this unique opportunity disappears.

In this tour we were able to sample 10 flights inside Iran, flying Bae-146, Avro RJ85, Avro RJ100, A300-600, An-74, B727 and B747-SP types. We were able to visit Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan and Mashhad combine with a packed program of sightseeing and aviation activities.

Trip Video

Day 0 

We have a proposal onboard Iran Air B747-SP from Beijing to Tehran!

Congratulations to Xiao Chen and Eichao Wang! What a fabulous and unique proposal onboard B747-SP!

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Day 1 

October 02  Tehran Sightseeing

Our group meet up in Tehran  went to the mountain near North Tehran, reaching as high as 3,750m above sea level by cable car. Unfortunately there were no snow at the peak in October. After lunch, we met up with Iranian aviation enthusiasts and did some spotting with their accompanies.

 

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Follow by a hearty Iranian buffet in North Tehran.

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In the afternoon, the group were able to meet up with Iranian aviation enthusiasts and do some spotting near Mehrabad Airport.

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Follow by visit to Azadi Square. Our group has gathered a lot of attention among the locals there.

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Day 2 

October 03  Shiraz

In early morning we flew with Mahan Air Bae-146-300 EP-MOK to Shiraz

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After landing, we went straight to Persepolis literally meaning “city of Persians” was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BCE). Persepolis is situated 60 km northeast of city of Shiraz in Fars Province in Iran. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979.

 

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Bas-relief in Persepolis—a symbol in Zoroastrian for Nowruz— eternally fighting bull (personifying the moon), and a lion (personifying the Sun) representing the Spring.

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Follow by another hearty buffet lunch.

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In the afternoon we visited the tomb of famous Persian poet, Hafiz and a mosque nearby.

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Our tour bus has A350 on the seat cover!

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Defunct Sepehran Airlines with Indonesian reg. B737-300 parked at Shiraz

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Onboard Bae-146-300 returning to Tehran in the evening.

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Sample of inflight meal offering from Mahan Air. Both are cold chicken base dishes and taste fine.

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Day 3

October 04  Isfahan

In early morning we boarded Qeshm Airlines Avro RJ85 to visit the Persian cultural capital, Isfahan.

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After arrival, we were taken to the grand Abbasi Hotel for breakfast and refreshment. The below pictures are taken inside the hotel. It is arguably the best hotel in Iran and one of the oldest hotel in the world, which originally a caravanserai.

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With the 2 lovely local tour guide; Sevda and Iraj

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After Abbasi Hotel, our tour head to Jameh Mosque. This is one of the oldest mosques still standing in Iran, and it was built in the four-iwan architectural style, placing four gates face to face.

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A typical bazaar.

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Arches under the Khaju Bridge.

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Armenian Vank Church

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Follow by traditional Iranian Kebab lunch at a beautiful restaurant.

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We have a birthday boy that day.

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In the afternoon we visit several more Mosque around the Imam Square. The square in Isfahan is one of the largest city squares in the world and an outstanding example of Iranian and Islamic architecture. It has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. This certainly was a highlight of the tour.

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Follow a relaxing time in the local tea house mingle with local Iranians.

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Day 4

October 5  Flying An-74, Tehran Aviation Museum and flying Mahan Air A300

In the morning our group have the pleasure to fly a new airline and new type recently started in Iran; Pouya Air Antonov An-74 to Mashhad and back.

A detail trip report on the An-74 can be seen on:

http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/trip_reports/read.main/269020/

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In the afternoon, we visited the nearby Aviation Museum exhibition. Our group were able to see B747F, L1011, B727, Fk28, Fk27 and many older types on display. The folks at museum were able let us board the VIP B727 to see the interior from 1970s.

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During the museum visit, our group were invited to fill as “actors and actresses” for a movie shoot inside the L1011 cabin. The TV series is call “Kimia” and we left our footage in Iranian media.

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Yours truly at L1011 cockpit control.

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Our group with the famous Iranian actress in front of the Iran Air B747F.

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Another tasty Iranian Kebab lunch at the shopping arcade.

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In the evening, our group gather again at Mehrabad Airport ready to fly Mahan Air A300-600 to Mashhad. We have the hope for B747-300 but unfortunately it was grounded and this was changed to a A300-600.

Mahan Air operate a unique domestic Business Class lounge in Mehrabad Terminal 4.

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Day 5

October 6  Flying the B727 and visit Iran Air HQ Facility

On our last day, we woke up early to fly Iran Aseman B727-200 to Mashhad at 6:45am

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Mount Damavand, the peak at 5,610m, a stratovolcano in Iran as well as highest volcano in Asia.

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After the awesome B727 flight, our group head over the Iran Air HQ for an arranged visit of the hangar and maintenance ramp area.

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We were lucky to be invited to inspect the last active B747-200 EP-IAI during the maintenance break.

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After the tour, our group gathered for lunch with guest speaker, Iran Air B747 fleet captain, Mr Abbas Moghadam.

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This concluded our aviation tour in Iran. The tour members return home on B747-SP to Kuala Lumpur or Beijing. They all have their most memorable flight onboard the B747-SP, which is a flying museum, a piece of beautiful flying antique itself.

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I have to thank all of the people and organization involve in the tour to make this tour so smooth and successful. Iranians are among the warmest people we have met and the kindest and most resourceful ones too. We enjoyed a lot of culture exchange and great conversation with Iranian. Even I have been to Iran 7 times in the past, I am still in awe and mesmerized by the beautiful people there. Not only always great for aviation, it is the warmest people with greatest humanity that have made our trip super successful and filled with sweet memories. It was a trip beyond possibilities. It was a history making trip. Iran is about to open its doors to the west when the sanction ease. I hope a very bright future for all the Iranian. I know that I will be returning there soon!

Sam Chui

Trip Video

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