Iran’s Dire Aviation Record

It followed an incident just days before, when a Qeshm Air Fokker 100 made an emergency landing at Mashhad Airport.

Photographs and videos clips of the crash, as well as the emergency landing, flooded social media.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reports that so far this year, Iranian fatalities make up 45 percent of the total air crash fatalities. During the last decade, there have been 20 airplane crashes in Iran, with a total of 303 fatalities, according to ICAO reports. Iran’s share of fatalities is six percent. Statistics show that an airplane incident in Iran is three times more likely to have a fatality compared to the global average.

Prior to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran’s aging air fleet and lack of parts for maintaining aircraft standards were believed to be the cause of aviation industry suffering such a large number of incidents and accidents. Following the nuclear deal in 2015, many thought these sorts of incidents would stop, but they didn’t.

After several airplane crashes in 2009, IR-CAO banned the use of Russian-made aircraft in Iran, but the aircraft continued to be used. In summer 2014, there was another fatal accident. The Russian-made aircraft crashed seconds after taking off from Mehrabad airport, killing all on board. Shortly after this occurance, the Iranian government banned the aircraft.

After the ban, Iranian airlines replaced their fleets of Russian planes with aging Airbus 320 and MD 82/88 aircraft.

Western-made airplanes also continue to crash in Iran. They’ve skidded off runways, lost engine power, and experienced malfunctions in their landing gear. These signs point to poor maintenance and safety checks.

Iran Air has received licenses from the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control to receive 38 Airbuses, 15 Boeings, and 20 ATR 72-600s by the end of 2020. This one-fifth of Boeing’s total orders and two-fifths of the total orders for Airbus planes. Still, Iran Air must continue to use many of its old airplanes in its fleet to operate all of its routes.

And Iranians will continue to mourn their loved ones as new airplanes for use on Iranian fleets arrive at Mehrabad Airport.