Getting to Iran
Currently, the main international airport in Iran is Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) in Tehran. All international flights to Tehran land at this airport. There are several smaller regional airports – for example those in Shiraz, Mashhad and Isfahan – which operate internationally as well.
Right now, there are no direct flights from the USA or Canada to Iran. However, after lifting the sanctions several European and Iranian airlines resumed flights to and from Europe. It is also possible to enter Iran through various Persian Gulf States.
Going Around in Iran
When you have only limited time in Iran, getting around by airplane is the least time consuming. It’s more expensive than traveling by bus or train, but it is still reasonably priced. Maximum prices are set by government, leaving price competition possible between the different airlines. For a one-way ticket from Tehran to Shiraz, you can expect to pay around 2 million rials (around € 50, 60 USD) and from Tehran to Yazd around 1,5 million rials (around €35, 40 USD).
At the moment, IranAir and Mahan Air are the largest and most reliable operators. IranAir, established in 1962 after merging Iranian Airways and Persian Airways, currently flies to 26 domestic destinations. IranAir was known for its direct flight from Tehran to New York, at the time a world record in time and distance for a non-stop, scheduled long-haul flight. Mahan Air, founded in 1992, is known for its excellent and professional staff. Among the other airlines you can find Kish Air, Qeshm Air, ATA, Atrak, Caspian Airlines, Iran Airtours, Iran Aseman, Meraj Airlines, and Taban Air. Whichever airline you choose, always check the aircraft type, as some of the airplanes used on domestic flights are at the end of their life. Nevertheless, with the start of Iranian airlines purchasing planes from European and American aviation giants Airbus and Boeing in 2017, the Iranian aviation industry is definitely developing.
It is possible to book tickets online, but it is recommended to do so through a local travel agent, or an Iranian contact. Booking domestic flights in advance from you home country can be rather difficult, so again it is advised to book through a tour operator.
Once booked, allow yourself enough time to get to the airport to check in. Traffic in Iran, especially in Tehran, is unpredictable, and can take more time than expected.