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|Commenced operations||June 1992|
|Frequent-flyer program||Mahan and Miles|
|Parent company||Mol-Al-Movahedin Institute|
|Headquarters||Aryashahr, Tehran, Iran|
|Key people||Hamid Arabnejad, Chairman & CEO|
|Employees||4,719 (2017) |
Mahan Airlines, operating under the name Mahan Air (Persian: هواپیمایی ماهان, romanized: Havâpeymâye Mâhân) is a privately owned Iranian airline based in Tehran, Iran. It operates scheduled domestic services and international flights to the Far East, Middle East, Central Asia and Europe. Its main home bases are Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport and Mehrabad International Airport.
Mahan Air was established in 1991 as a Full-Service Carrier (FSC), and began operations in June 1992 as Iran's first private airline. The name of Mahan is taken from the historical city of Mahan in Kerman Province. The Airline joined the IATA in 2001 and is owned by Mol-Al-Movahedin Charity Institute (100%).
Three Airbus A300B4 passenger aircraft were acquired in 1999, and in 2002 A310s and A320s joined the fleet. According to the British High Court, three 747-400s were unlawfully taken by Mahan Air from their real owner, Blue Sky Airlines, in 2008, using forged bills of sale. When ordered to bring the aircraft back to Europe, Mahan claimed it could not do so because it was being investigated by the Iranian authorities for fraud, and the aircraft had to be kept in Iran. The fleet has gone through an extensive modernization since 2006 as Boeing 747-400s, Airbus A300-600s, Avro RJ-100s, and Airbus A340-600s were gradually acquired to enable Mahan Air to provide additional capacity to its current destinations, as well as extending its reach to further destinations worldwide. The airline started operations from Tehran to Shanghai in 2011, Guangzhou in 2013 and Beijing in 2014.
The airline carried 5.4 million passengers in 2015 with an average load factor of 77%. In mid-2015 it had a fleet of 60 aircraft, making it the largest airline in Iran based on seat numbers and fleet size. It operates scheduled passenger services to international destinations in Europe, the Far East, and the Middle East. Mahan Air has an extensive domestic route network too. The airline commenced Copenhagen and Paris services in the first half of 2016.
Developments since 2011
On 12 December 2011, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced the designation of Mahan Air as a material and transportation supporter of terrorism, "for providing financial, material and technological support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). Based in Tehran, Mahan Air provides transportation, funds transfers and personnel travel services to the IRGC-QF." 
On 6 April 2016, Mahan Air was banned from flying over Saudi Arabian airspace.
Between 2015 and 2018, Mahan Air significantly expanded its operations and fleet. Mahan Air targets the business traffic between Asia, especially China, and European destinations. In 2016, besides Germany and Denmark, Mahan Air started service to Milan and Athens; and to Barcelona the following year. It operated up to 15 weekly flights to China until late 2018.
In January 2019, the German government banned Mahan Air from landing in Germany, where it formerly served Munich Airport and Düsseldorf Airport, citing Mahan's involvement in Syria and security concerns. France imposed the same ban on 25 March 2019, and Mahan Air was forced to cancel its 4-weekly service to Paris.
On 1 November 2019, the Italian government also announced that the country would ban Mahan Air flights to the country from 15 December 2019. The move came after the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Rome, during which he urged Italian officials to stop allowing Iranian airlines to use Italy's airspace. The remaining destinations within the European Union had been Barcelona and seasonally also Athens and Varna since then. However, in April 2020 the airline lost its traffic rights to Spain as well.
Role in the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic
According to the BBC, after Iran officially suspended all flights to and from China, Mahan Air continued flying to China and elsewhere in February and March. 
Arrival and departure data from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini and Chinese airports shows flights continued into March. A 5 February flight carried the remaining Iraqi students from Wuhan to Baghdad while a Feb. 6 flight carried 70 Iranian students back from Wuhan to Tehran.
Mahan Air claimed it had ended all flights from China after an Iranian student newspaper criticized the February 6 flight. But data from commercial flight tracker Flightradar24 showed 55 more flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, lasting until Feb. 23 (by which time Iran had 43 confirmed COVID-19 cases). The BBC investigation established that Lebanon’s first COVID-19 cases originated on Mahan Air flights.
Planes that went to Tehran from China also made onward travel within 24 hours to Barcelona, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Istanbul. From February 6 to March 31, a total of 37 Mahan Air flights went to Dubai, 19 flights went to Turkey, 12 went to Malaysia, 8 went to Syria, and 6 went to Thailand. Cabin crew raised concerns about their lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and containment measures on planes but were silenced by the airline. Mahan Air claimed it was sending humanitarian aid to China and that none of the flights were passenger flights.
The data shows that although six flights were used for aid, four others were used to evacuate Iranian citizens from China, and there were a total of 157 additional flights with China from February 6 to March 31.
Mahan Air is headquartered in Tehran. Its current slogan is "The Spirit of Excellence." Mahan Air loyalty programme, called the Mahan Club "Mahan & Miles", includes access to special lounges and dedicated "fast" queues.
As of January 2020, Mahan Air operates scheduled service to domestic and international destinations in Asia and Africa. Mahan Air is currently not allowed to operate flights into Europe as it's been blacklisted. Mahan Air is also currently banned from entering the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Oceania due to sanctions against Iran, as the airline was accused of bringing COVID-19 into several Middle East countries from China, supporting terrorism against the US and its allies, and transporting weapons and explosives for Venezuela, Russia, China, North Korea, Yemen, Syria, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and its divisions.
As of November 2019, the Mahan Air fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Boeing 747-300||1||—||26||434||460||Currently Stored|
|Boeing 747-400||1||—||26||434||460||Reintroduced after 10 years of being stored|
|Airbus A320-200||7||2004||2014||Transferred to Iran Air and Iran Aseman Airlines|
|Lockheed L-1011 TriStar||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-82||1||2008||2009|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-83||2||2006||2007|
- 23 February 2006A Mahan Air Airbus A310 operating a flight from Tehran, Iran, was involved in a serious incident while on approach to Birmingham International Airport. The aircraft descended to the published minimum descent altitude of 740 ft despite still being 11 nm from the runway threshold. At a point 6 nm from the runway the aircraft had descended to an altitude of 660 ft, which was 164 ft above ground level. Having noticed the descent profile, Birmingham air traffic control issued an immediate climb instruction to the aircraft, however, the crew had already commenced a missed approach, having received a GPWS alert. The aircraft was radar vectored for a second approach during which the flight crew again initiated an early descent. On this occasion, the radar controller instructed the crew to maintain their altitude and the crew successfully completed the approach to a safe landing. The accident investigation determined that the primary cause was use of the incorrect DME for the approach, combined with a substantial breakdown in the Crew Resource Management. Three safety recommendations were made.:
- On 23 July 2020, it was reported that a Mahan Air airplane, an Airbus A310-300 registered EP-MNF operating as Mahan Air flight 1152 from Tehran to Beirut was escorted by American fighter jets over Syrian airspace. The airplane landed in Beirut with three injuries reported.
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- "Iran Still Operating U.S.-Sanctioned Airline in Support of Assad, IRGC". Foundation for Defense of Democracies. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "EU terrorist list - Consilium". www.consilium.europa.eu. European Council/Council of the European Union. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- "Iran's Mahan Air launches direct flights to Venezuela". 8 April 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
- "Mahan Air droht Einflugverbot für Deutschland" [Mahan Air faces landing ban in Germany]. aero.de (in German). 22 December 2018. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
- Germany bans Iran’s Mahan Air amid security concerns, AP (The News & Observer reprint), 21 January 2019
- "Iran's Mahan Air cancels Paris flights over 'sanctions'". France 24. 19 March 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- "Italy bans Mahan's flights". theiranproject.com. The Iran Project. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
- aerotelegraph.com - "Mahan Air also no longer allowed to fly to Spain" (German) 16 April 2020
- Waked, Bettina, ed. (5 May 2020). "How an Iranian airline 'helped spread coronavirus'". BBC News. BBC News Arabic. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
- "Revealed: How rogue Iran airline spread coronavirus through Middle East". Arab News. 7 May 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Travel Classes". Mahan Air. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
- "Mahan & Miles - Terms & Conditions". Mahan Air. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
- "International Route Network". www.mahan.aero. Mahan Air. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
- "Mahan Fleet". Mahan Air. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
- "Mahan Air - Seat Map". www.mahan.aero. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- "Mahan Air's Boeing 747 Is Back In Service After 10 Years Of Retirement". Simple Flying. 8 October 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- "Mahan Air Fleet". airfleets.net. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- "Mahan Airlines Fleet Details and History". planespotters.net. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- "Report on the serious incident to Airbus A310-304, registration F-OJHI, on approach to Birmingham International Airport on 23 February 2006". UK AAIB. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2007.
Media related to Mahan Air at Wikimedia Commons