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Questions About Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport  
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 6118 times:

Currently I am planning a trip to the United Arab Emirates and Iran in March or in April. I just checked some airfares and saw that Middle Eastern Airlines like Emirates and Qatar Airways are already flying to the new Imam Khomeini Airport and not to Mehrabad Airport anymore.

Now I have three questions about the Imam Khomeini Airport:

1. Where is it located, how far away is it from the city center and Mehrabad Airport? Is there any public transportation available between these two airports? I am planning to fly on a lot of intra-Iran flights and these flights are all leaving from Mehrabad Airport, so it would be perfect when there are shuttle busses or shuttle trains which connect these airports.

2. Is the "visa on arrival" also available at Imam Khomeini Airport? As I wrote before, only airlines from the neighboring Gulf countries are flying to this airport and people who are living in these countries do usually not need a visa to enter Iran, so I am wondering if the Iranian immigration service is also offering visa on arrival service there.

3. Just out of interest, I saw that Iran Air and Mahan Air are still operating their domestic and international flights out of Mehrabad. Do the Iranian airlines (as well as all other airlines which are flying to Tehran) plan to move to Imam Khomeini Airport and will Mehrabad get closed completely eventually?

Thanks in advance for any information!

Patrick

39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineA300 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 474 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 6063 times:
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Hello. I know both the airports well.
1) It is located in the desert 50 km SW of Tehran. The distance b/w THR and IKA is also 50 km on expressways. There are airport taxis for about 100000 IRR (EUR 10) from IKA to THR (24 hours)
2) The visa on arrival is available at both airports for trips less than 7 days. You need USD 50 and 2 passport photos. Israelis are not allowed in Iran. Canada, UK and USA cannot use the visa on arrival service (they all have recently violated Iranian sovereignty in the recent years). FRG and almost all other European nationals are allowed to use the service. FRG and France will likely be disallowed shortly (EU-3 violation of Iranian rights under NPT). I would recommend to get a visa ahead of time to avoid any problems.
3) The transition from THR to IKA is multi-phase. Eventually all international flights will be at IKA. Mehrabad Int'l Apt is very much Tehran and it will not ever close. It will handle domestic and VIP traffic. Mehrabad is also Tactical Air Base (TAB) 1 for IRIAF, IRIAA, IRGCAF fleets and will continue in that role.

I hope the info was helpful. Have fun in Iran. I am certain you will love it.
Cheers
Bahman



Boland Aseman Jayegah Man Ast.
User currently offlineVV701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7641 posts, RR: 17
Reply 2, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 6010 times:

Quoting A300 (Reply 1):
FRG and France will likely be disallowed shortly

I would take A300's advise and get a visa before you go. Did you not see your new Chancellor, Angela Mercle (apologies for probably incorrect spelling) 'standing shoulder to shoulder' (as BBC TV put it) with President Bush over the Iranian nuclear situation?


User currently offlineNonRevKing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 5987 times:

Quoting A300 (Reply 1):
Canada, UK and USA cannot use the visa on arrival service (they all have recently violated Iranian sovereignty in the recent years).

How difficult do you think it would be for an American citizen to get the visa in advance?

Thanks!

B


User currently offlineLTU932 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 13864 posts, RR: 50
Reply 4, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5943 times:

Quoting Sabena332 (Thread starter):
Just out of interest, I saw that Iran Air and Mahan Air are still operating their domestic and international flights out of Mehrabad. Do the Iranian airlines (as well as all other airlines which are flying to Tehran) plan to move to Imam Khomeini Airport and will Mehrabad get closed completely eventually?

I'm also curious about that. It seems to me that currently Imam Khomeini Airport is very much underutilised compared to the older Mehrabad Airport.


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26626 posts, RR: 75
Reply 5, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5924 times:

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 4):
I'm also curious about that. It seems to me that currently Imam Khomeini Airport is very much underutilised compared to the older Mehrabad Airport.

Well, first, Mehrabad is larger and more established. Second, it is actually in Tehran while IKA is out 50km away in the middle of nowhere (though they are planning on a rail link as part of Tehran's massive rail expansion). Additionally, it is difficult to connect between international and domestic flights, so many carriers are still sticking with THR. I honestly don't understand the point behind this, given that THR is not really exceeding capacity.

Quoting NonRevKing (Reply 3):
How difficult do you think it would be for an American citizen to get the visa in advance?

Actually, it is rather easy as Iran have done a lot over the past 10-15 years to encourage US tourism. I believe they will even do what Cuba does and give you the visa on a piece of paper seperate from your passport so you don't have to jump through the Treasury Department license hoops.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineA300 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 474 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5905 times:
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To NonRevKing:
It take about a month to get a visa approved for an American. You can apply at the Iranian Interests Section in Washington, DC or the embassies in Ottawa and Mexico City.



Boland Aseman Jayegah Man Ast.
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26626 posts, RR: 75
Reply 7, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5902 times:

Quoting A300 (Reply 6):
You can apply at the Iranian Interests Section in Washington, DC

BTW, the Iranian Interests Section is part of the Pakistani Embassy for anyone interested. Still, it might be best to go through Mexico or Ottawa to avoid Treasury hassles



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineLTU932 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 13864 posts, RR: 50
Reply 8, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5856 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 5):
Well, first, Mehrabad is larger and more established. Second, it is actually in Tehran while IKA is out 50km away in the middle of nowhere (though they are planning on a rail link as part of Tehran's massive rail expansion). Additionally, it is difficult to connect between international and domestic flights, so many carriers are still sticking with THR. I honestly don't understand the point behind this, given that THR is not really exceeding capacity.

In that case I'll rephrase my question: why was Imam Khomeini Airport built in the first place, if Mehrabad isn't exceeding capacity?


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26626 posts, RR: 75
Reply 9, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5852 times:

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 8):
In that case I'll rephrase my question: why was Imam Khomeini Airport built in the first place, if Mehrabad isn't exceeding capacity?

Yeah, I questioned that myself and have come up with a few possible conclusions. First, it is possible that they wanted to build a newer facility as a symbol of the capital. Second, flowing from the same idea, Iranians are really into new things, destroying 10 year old buildings to throw up something newer. In some ways it is annoying, as you get a lot of modernist stuff and nothing really gets to turn into a historical treasure (aside from a rare thing like Azadi Square). Finally, they are really into naming things after The Bearded Bastard, so the new airport gave them excuse.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineLTU932 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 13864 posts, RR: 50
Reply 10, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5839 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 9):
Finally, they are really into naming things after The Bearded Bastard, so the new airport gave them excuse.

I was just thinking that myself, though if that was so, they could have renamed Mehrabad after the Ayatollah Khomeini after the Islamic Revolution or after the Ayatollah died. This reminds me of SDA in a way, the Americans renamed it Baghdad International while it was known as Saddam Hussein International during Saddam's regime, though I don't know when exactly during the Saddam regime the airport was remaned (and the current IATA code of Baghdad International still reflects that name if you look closely).


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26626 posts, RR: 75
Reply 11, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5835 times:

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 10):
This reminds me of SDA in a way, the Americans renamed it Baghdad International while it was known as Saddam Hussein International during Saddam's regime, though I don't know when exactly during the Saddam regime the airport was remaned (and the current IATA code of Baghdad International still reflects that name if you look closely).

I think SDA was built during Hussein's reign to replace Al Muthena

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 10):
I was just thinking that myself, though if that was so, they could have renamed Mehrabad after the Ayatollah Khomeini after the Islamic Revolution or after the Ayatollah died.

Again, has to do with liking new things. Sort of like when the new metro was built. The intersection of the first two lines was at Imam Khomeni Square



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineToddy333 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5761 times:

Just out of interest, I found this on Wikipedia, Imam Khomeini International Airport. "On April 29 2005, Britain and Canada warned its citizens against using the airport due to alleged safety concerns concerning the runway, which has been claimed to have been built over ancient qanats (subterranean waterways). Iranian officials countered these claims by stating that there are no safety issues and that the International Civil Aviation Organisation had inspected and approved the airport."

Does anyone have any more info on this?


User currently offlineA300 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 474 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5739 times:
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The rumors about ghanats abound both in Iran and overseas. They inspections by ICAO and Iranian CAO have checked the runways and they are fine.


Boland Aseman Jayegah Man Ast.
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 5705 times:

Quoting A300 (Reply 1):
I hope the info was helpful.

It was very helpful, thanks a lot for these information!

Quoting VV701 (Reply 2):
I would take A300's advise and get a visa before you go.

This is actually a very good idea. But at first I have to wait until my new passport arrives, I applied for it almost 5 weeks ago but I am still waiting for it, damned German bureaucrats.  Wink

Patrick


User currently offlineA300 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 474 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 5656 times:
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Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 14):

You are welcome!



Boland Aseman Jayegah Man Ast.
User currently offlineWDBRR From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 613 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 5646 times:

Wasn't this new airport planned under the Shah and then put on hold after the Revolution? Remember reading something about this.

User currently offlineA300 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 474 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 5578 times:
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IKA is as old as I am, 36. The plans were drawn up in the Imperial times and with lots of delay they were completed by the Islamic Republic. Mehrabad is a dual use airport, which is a huge problem. I remember the mid-air collision in 1993 between a Tu-154 and an IRIAF Su-24M. The area near Mehrabad is heavily populated. I remember having a drink with my cousins in a suburb called Tehransar, which is just of the Western edge of THR, when a Tu-154 flew over. It was not a comfortable sound. IKA was/is/will be necessary if the greater Tehran in to prosper.


Boland Aseman Jayegah Man Ast.
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 5562 times:

Quoting A300 (Reply 17):
The area near Mehrabad is heavily populated.

True, the approach is simply stunning as you can see in these pictures:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Sam Chui
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Sam Chui



Patrick


User currently offlineFFlyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 733 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 5545 times:

Just remember not to take any western magazines, or music with you. My experience; Religious Police watching me to marker hundreds of pictures with small (less than 1/2 inch) sized human characters in an aerial view of a city. We had done our own censorship in advance, but just missed that photo from a 20-page catalog. This happening in Mehrabad (hot smelly hell hole) between 2:00 am and 6:00 am wasn't particularly fun.

User currently offlineNonRevKing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 5480 times:

Quoting A300 (Reply 17):
IKA is as old as I am, 36. The plans were drawn up in the Imperial times and with lots of delay they were completed by the Islamic Republic. Mehrabad is a dual use airport, which is a huge problem. I remember the mid-air collision in 1993 between a Tu-154 and an IRIAF Su-24M. The area near Mehrabad is heavily populated. I remember having a drink with my cousins in a suburb called Tehransar, which is just of the Western edge of THR, when a Tu-154 flew over. It was not a comfortable sound. IKA was/is/will be necessary if the greater Tehran in to prosper.

Thanks for the insightful and seemingly accurate information, btw. I really would like to visit in the near future, I just hope everyone is as informed as you have been! (I'm sure they will be.)

I have to mull over the possible hassles from my own country first, and talk it over with some possible travel partners. I trust I can email you with some questions some time...

Thanks again
B


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26626 posts, RR: 75
Reply 21, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 5469 times:

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 14):
I applied for it almost 5 weeks ago but I am still waiting for it, damned German bureaucrats.

Same thing happens here. Actually, one of the largest passport centers is in New Orleans, and that caused major hassles for a while after Katrina



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineA300 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 474 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 5456 times:
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Quoting NonRevKing (Reply 20):
I trust I can email you with some questions some time...

Any time!



Boland Aseman Jayegah Man Ast.
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 5440 times:

By the way, here is an interesting trip report from an aviation enthusiasts point of view, pretty interesting for everyone who is interested in visiting Iran.

Patrick


User currently offlineAussie_ From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1766 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 5400 times:

I am also in the final stages of planning a trip to Iran, and I'll also be relying on Visa on arrival (I am australian citizen). There is not enough time now to get one in advance.

I am flying into IKA, as I will be flying in from DXB. I'll then have to transfer across to THR, for a few days of truly exotic flying - B707, 727, TU154 etc.

I am looking forward to it and every Iranian I have been in contact with via email appears to be so welcoming and helpful! I think they simply welcome any tourist or person with a genuine interest in them and their country.


25 Sabena332 : I am planning the same, basically I will travel to Iran to get all these old and exotic aircraft types but also to see something from the country. By
26 WDBRR : You were drinking soda I hope.
27 N1120A : Does it matter? It is rather easy for people to get alcohol in Iran if they want. Then again, Iranians like to socialize over tea more than anything.
28 Post contains images Sabena332 : Does that only apply for locals? If not, I would appreciate when you would share your tips how and where to get booze. I was already thinking about s
29 N1120A : Befriend some Iranians and they will invite you over. They will almost certainly have booze that was smuggled in from Turkey. Don't even think about
30 Post contains images Sabena332 : Good to know that, thanks for the tip! I have never been busted by police and customs or their ilk, I am too smart for them. Patrick
31 Post contains images HZ747300 : You'll be keeping it nice and warm, eh?
32 Post contains links BA : NonRevKing, US citizens will soon be able to get 15-day tourist visas on arrival in Iran: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article...._id=10&categ_id=3&art
33 A300 : Booze is easily obtained in Iran and way cheaper than here in Saudi Arabia. Drinking with my family and friends is a major bonus when I go home.
34 NonRevKing : Yes! The best news I've heard all day! Thanks a hundered times! I was just reading and calling about the visa, and it seemed like it would be such a
35 Sabena332 : Getting tickets for the Saha Air 707 flights is actually a pain in the ass because you can't reserve them from outside Iran. It is pure luck, you hav
36 NonRevKing : Yea...I wouldn't mind those either. Is there any route where one could take the 707 out and a 154 or 204 back to THR or vice versa? Is the 707 dedica
37 Post contains links Sabena332 : See this website for more information: http://www.cao.ir/english/timetable/wreserve2.asp You can plan your "Iran flight schedule" very good with this
38 Post contains links A300 : Saha B707-3J9 do THR-MHD and THR-KIH routes. Other than THR, MHD is the best palce to see all these. It is possible to fly any combination of aircraft
39 Post contains images NonRevKing : Awesome stuff...take the 707 out, and a Kish TU154 back! Saha has 2 flights a day right...I'm assuming both 707? Thanks for your help guys. I don't th
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