Iran’s private airline Ata Airline (هوایپماییآتا) is launching flights fromMashad’s Shaheed Hashminajad airport to Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport from 10 February. Currently, Kish Air is operating direct flights between Islamabad and Tehran. Ata Air will initially operate two flights a week with Saturday flight leaving Mashad at 10 PM while the second flight will leave at 1 Am on Sunday morning. This development will prove to be another step to enhance connectivity between the people of the two countries. It would be the seventh direct flight between Iran and Pakistan. In addition to Kish Air’s direct flights between Islamabad and Tehran and Multan And Mashhad. Iran Air operates flights between Karachi and Tehran. Taban Air operates flights between Lahore and Mashhad. Mahan Air operates flights on Lahore – Mashhad and Lahore – Tehran route.
But no Pakistani airline operates flights to Iran as Pakistani airline Shaheen Air dropped theirs once a week flight between Mashhad and Lahore.
Ata Airline has a fleet of 14 aircraft including 3, Airbus A320s, 2 Boeing 737-500 and 2 Boeing 737-300. It also has 7 McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft.
It is important to mention that direct traffic between Iran and Pakistan is mostly carried by Gulf carriers where passengers wait hours to catch their connecting flights. Regardless of the fact that huge number of Pakistanis travel to Iran to visit historic places. It is an untapped market that should be explored by Pakistani airlines where only foreign airlines rule. PIA is considering to start flights to Iran but by the time this will materialise the market might be too crowded.