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Amir
Topic Author
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 8:56 pm

Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:57 am

Hi and happy new year to all of you!

The purpose of this trip was to fly the YAK-42 which I never went on before. There is one operator fying into dubai with this bird: Fars Air Qeshm.

Background:
Since 85% of people in Dubai are foreigners, most of them need to exit and re-enter the country for renewal of their residence visa. For this reason there are several so called Visa Change flights which mainly operate from Dubai to nearby airports in Iran, most of the flights go to the island of Kish but a few go to the island of Qeshm. I have made many attempts trying to persuade the travel agents to sell me such ticket but they usually declined since I don’t need a visa change as such. My explanations that I want to do this trip just for the sake of flying an old Russian metal made them rather confused and even more suspicious… finally I managed to convince one travel agent and the nice staff agreed to sell me the ticket, however I was not able to book the return portion as people go their first and once their visa arrives (this can vary between a couple of hours to several days/weeks…) then they report to the airline and book themselves back to Dubai. I even tried to involve some friends in Tehran for the sake of getting a return booking prior to departure but this airline is hardly heard of in places like Tehran since they only conduct visa change flights from a small and remote place calls Qeshm (close to the bigger and more known Iranian port of Bandar Abbas)

18 December 2007 Dep. 15:30
Flight Fars Air Qeshm from Dubai to Qeshm (Iran)
YAK 42D EP-QFA

Having my ticket in hand, i headed to the airport. It was a beautiful winter day in Dubai and since it was the first day of Eid Al Adha, streets were half empty and I reached Terminal 2 in no time. After parking the car at a side-street expecting the worst of getting stuck in Qehsm for a couple of days… I walked the short distance to the Terminal which was (surprise surprise in Dubai..) undergoing some construction work. Once in the Terminal, i felt the "Eid" rush., Never experienced such congestion, there were half a dozen of flights departing to many destinations including the fancy Terminal 2 ones: Baghdad & Kabul, further Finnair was having a flight to Goa (A319). A very interesting announcement came over the P/A: " United Nations regrets the delay of its flight to Kabul, the new departure time is 7 a.m Dubai time.." it was the DC-9 ZS-GAT in all white.
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3 flights were at check-in at the small area, since I was there early, the Fars Air Qeshm counter was deserted and I got my seat (Window of course) in a couple of minutes. The smiling DNATA staff did reconfirm with me: "excuse me Sir with this passport you don’t need a visa change, you know that?" I just smiled back and told her yes no big deal am just going to try the ride.. Smile

In spite of the bustling transit Area one could hear the roaring sound of an TU-154 (Kish Air).
Boarding was smooth and non eventful. We were bussed to the plane and once I wanted to take a pic of the Yak-42 I was stopped immediately so only this was possible:



There were some interesting planes on Tarmac: Iraqi Airways 732, Air Blue A320, Kisk Air F50 (EP-LCE), 2X MD11 Fedex, 727 in all white (A6-RCB), National Air TU204 (RA-64021) Air Zimbabwe 762, and a 752 with black and red colours. The ill fated Biman A313 that had an accident back in March was still there covered with lots of sand.

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One female F/A was welcoming pax, I immediately told her about my reason for this flight and asked for her help to have a look into the cockpit. There was a total of 4 F/A/s on board. Plus the obligatory security men (2). We pushed back exactly on time (I was impressed!) then the engines were started, sitting in the second row the sound was way too low for my likings… Smile Lined up RWY 30R then we took off after a rather short take off role followed by normal climb no vibrations. The plane in general looked fairly o.K and not too old. In front of the first row there was a sign indicating YAK42D operated by Pecotox Air. An all Economy class cabin 6 seat abreat), Seat-Pitch was o.k though the seat width was tight. Old style Russian seats that fold to the front but covered with thick western style brown colored seat covers. All seats had safety cards and airsickness bags. Overhead bins were the closing ones but rather small. Exit signs were in both Arabic and English plus old signs in Russian.

Soon after take off, FA's started distributing small kits including Juice, Cookies, a Comb and a Fars Air branded pen! In addition small plastic model planes were distributed among children! I was lucky to get one too, the content however was a model of a 767-300 with Fars Air Qeshem titles. I was impressed to have this on a 30 Minute flight..Finally I was allowed a cockpit visit, all were smiling including the security gentlemen, he checked my documents and camera briefly and then I was inside. The crew (all Ukrainians) were very nice and talkative, taking pictures was not a problem.

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Soon after we started descend, landing in the middle of now where. We taxied to the tiny building which was the only visable buidling around. A MI-8 Helicopter with military markings was the only other air vehicle around. Deboarding was great! We used the built in aft-Stairs! While going out I took some shots of the cabin (all no problem with Cabin crew smiling!)

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Immigration at Qeshem was a tiering experience, it took me almost 90 minutes to clear immigration since there were only two manned counters and about 100 Pax most of them non Iranians. It was a bit of chaos but nothing unusual for such countries. The fact that I was entering Iran not for a visa change was rather awesome and created a bit of confusion among the immigration officers. Finally with a lot of laughs and jokes from my side the officers were O.K and I was allowed entry. The next step for me was to somehow secure a return booking. Similar to other Iranian airports I have visited before, i searched for the Fars Air office at the airport to conduct a reservation but I found out that bookings are only done at the two hotels for visa change pax.. Anyhow they told me to wait and try my luck as a go-show. I was told that there are two flights back to Dubai departing with a 15 minutes separation, this confused me as I thought the airline has only one plane available… The Check-in area was a clean yet old looking with 4 counters. The place was deserted. Only two militry personell and one Airline staff present. All of a sudden a bus arrived outside and about 50 people stormed the check in counters. Finally I was checked in and given an Iran Asseman Boarding Pass with a hand written seat number. and proceeded to the departure gate which was the smallest i have ever seen in my life, yet It included a souvenir shop and a counter selling some drinks and snacks. The place was full since two flights were departing. When our flight was called we walked to the plane it was dark already. The YAK 42 of my incoming flight was parked with no lights on. I started wondering with which flight am returning! It was a ATR7 of Iran Asseman (Reg. EP-ATZ). I was seated in the last row, the flight was completely full. You could see some galley items carrying Sabena markings. Two female F/A/s on board but no service carried out. Flight time was 40 Minutes flying along the coastline of UAE, you could see the lights of Ras Al Kheima and Sharjah. It was the desert side approach to DXB landing on RWY30R again. Landing was firm and heavy breaks were applied soon after touch down

One of the great things about Terminal 2 in DXB is the quick time you are out. With no checked in luggage and using the finger scanned entry, it took me exactly 2 minutes from the moment i left the bus heading into the immigration hall and getting outside the terminal! What a treat compared to the "standard" arrivals at Terminal 1

Best regards
Amir
 
Amir
Topic Author
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 8:56 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:06 am

Hi, somehow the pictures i added are not showing, i will try again!

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Amir
Topic Author
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 8:56 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:14 am

hi to all, somehow iam having difficulties with including pictures on my posting. if you dont see them click the small points in the first reply to my original trip report,
Sorry for trouble
Best regards Amir
 
debonair
Posts: 3737
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:05 am

Hi, GREAT pictures and nice, somehow very exotic TR.

Quoting Amir (Thread starter):
Flight Fars Air Qeshm from Dubai to Qeshm

Question left; as you seems THE expert!

I am totally confused right now. In my mind 2 airlines are based on the island of Qeshm- FARS AIR and QESHM AIR. But according to wiki: LINK both companys belong together...  Confused

But why do they have 2 differnt web-pages: http://www.farsair.com/ and http://www.qeshmair.ir/ ?

Cheers chris
 
UK_Dispatcher
Posts: 2254
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2001 8:44 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:48 am

Thanks for the great report, Amir.

I am hoping to get to Iran late Feb, and the Fars Air Qeshm is one of the types I am hoping to fly aboard whilst there, so it is great to see a trip report on it.
 
Amir
Topic Author
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 8:56 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:54 pm

Hi to AUH UK-Dispatcher!
FYI if you plan to go to Qeshm and continue, it might be an option to consider travelling by ferry from Qeshm to nearby Bandar Abbas and take some flights from over there. The passenger next to me was doing the same. They choose to fly to Qeshm (they said its less expensive) and continueby ferry (seems to be a 60 minutes trip) in anycase be sure that you already have your entry visa to Iran before boarding to Qeshm! Qeshm is like Kish considered free trade zone and even pax who require entry visa to Iran will get entry to both islands without visa but of course in this case then you can't travel further into domestic iran! and also note that the visa upon arrival option available to many nationalities can not be used when arriving at Qeshm! make sure that you clear this before going i had the feeling that they hardly get any passengers there other than people going in visa change or iranian nationals.
regards Amir
 
SAAB900
Posts: 262
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:00 am

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:54 pm

Hi Amir, great TR & photo's! I would love to fly a Yak42, how easy would it be for a European to get a ticket for one of these flights? Did you have any problems taking the photo of the Yak42 at Qushem? The main reason for asking is that I thought in Iran you couldn't take photos at airports? Or is it due to the fact that its a island & a free trade zone that its more relaxed!

Dave(SAAB900)
 
Amir
Topic Author
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 8:56 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:34 am

Hi Dave,

as a fact taking Photos at airports in Iran is not allowed and you have to be carefull and try to make friends with the people then you have better chances to take photos. So its not for granted but sometimes possible. In Qeshm i was surprised myself since while quickly taking a picture i discovered the Helicopter in the background and then i thought i will be in trouble.
Buying a ticket is possible at Fars Air Qeshem GSA in Dubai/ Deira at the Fish roundabout. The current price is AED 530,- for a return ticket (Approx. Eur. 100) be advised that you can only buy the ticket shortly before departure date (like a week in advance) due to frequent schedule changes.
Good luck
Regards Amir
 
User avatar
viasa
Posts: 1476
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2005 10:29 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:35 pm

Thank you very much for this tripreport. Very interesting airline!

Did you know if they only operate between Dubai and Qeshm or if they also have domestic flights.

Martial
 
B747forever
Posts: 13843
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 9:50 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Sat Jan 05, 2008 10:37 am

Interesting read.!!

Hope the pics will work!!

Didn't know at all about Visa Change flights.

Really good that you got home the same day!!!


Thank you for sharing

B747forever
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
Amir
Topic Author
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 8:56 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:14 am

Hi Martial,

the only flights i know of are the visa change flights between DXB and Qeshem.
Best regards
Amir
 
UK_Dispatcher
Posts: 2254
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2001 8:44 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Tue Jan 08, 2008 1:18 pm



Quoting Amir (Reply 10):
the only flights i know of are the visa change flights between DXB and Qeshem.

In January last year I also saw their YAK-42 in Tehran and Ahwaz.
 
MadameConcorde
Posts: 9265
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 5:08 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Wed Jan 09, 2008 7:25 am

Thank you for posting this trip report, Amir. I most enjoy reading trip reports to uncommon places with off the way airlines. Love that safety card. Wish I could have one of these!

Iran is one place I would love going to myself. There is so much bad talking about that country (mainly about their rulers) although if one goes there in the right clothing and behaviour I am sure it is one place with nice people to meet and lots of interesting spots to see. Persia has such an old history.

Any Iranian members on A.net who are living in Iran?
There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8307
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:56 am

Nice report, sure whould have been good to join you on this trip, a pretty cool jolly!

Shame the pix don't show - seems some can see them and other's not, quite odd!

Regards

Mark
111 732 733 734 735 736 73G 738 739,7M8 BBJ 741 742 743 744 752 753 762 763 764 772 77L 773 77W L15 D10 D30 D40 AB3 AB6 312 313 318 319 320 20N 321 21N 332 333 342 343 345 346 359 351 388 CS1 CS3 I86 154 SSJ CRJ CR7 CR9 CRK 145 170 175 220
 
Amir
Topic Author
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 8:56 pm

RE: Off The Beaten Track: Fars Air Qeshm

Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:18 am

Hi Mark,

sorry about the pix, but actually they show as tiny dots in the space lines between the text phrases, try again.

Thanks and best regards
Amir

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