By Gemma Greenwood
Iranian carrier announces best operational figures yet.
Private Iranian carrier Mahan Air has announced its best operational figures yet, having witnessed a 35% hike in passenger numbers in 2007 compared to the previous year.
The Tehran-based airline said it carried more than 2.3 million passengers during 2007 compared to 1.7 million in 2006.
The airline boosted its fleet by four aircraft to take its total to 21 but increased the overall available seat capacity by 65% to 5422 seats by replacing some of its narrow body aircraft with wide body transports.
"Our intense activity in 2007 witnessed another year of significant expansion for Mahan Air," said a Mahan Air spokesperson.
"The improvements were in both quantity and quality, with record passenger numbers and ASK together with growing recognition for the quality of our products and services."
The carrier said the "sizeable increase in available seats" saw load factors hit 66% but some routes such as Dubai and Bangkok achieved 80% load factors. In addition, the airline's number of business class passengers increased by i49% to almost 19,000.
The airline is now preparing to introduce flights to Shanghai and Almaty as well as establishing high frequency regular scheduled passenger service to Istanbul and Damascus following intense bilateral negotiations.