Iran Air touches down in Belgrade


Iran's national carrier launched operations between Tehran and Belgrade today, linking the two capital cities with a scheduled service for the first time in 27 years. Iran Air will be one of three carriers to maintain flights between the two countries. Following several delays, as a result of bureaucratic issues, Iran Air commenced its two weekly service to Belgrade this morning with an Airbus A320 aircraft and 96 passengers on board. Online ticket sales began just last week. Despite this, the Iranian Ambassador to Serbia, Hossein Mola Abdollahi, has said that all subsequent flights have been sold out until late summer. On March 19, Qeshm Air will introduce a two weekly service on the same route. "Tickets for the first four return flights on this airline have also been sold out", Mr Abdollahi said.

Mahan Air will be the third Iranian carrier to operate services between Tehran and Belgrade this summer. It will launch two weekly operations on April 6, with all flights to be maintained with its 202-seat Airbus A310 aircraft. Furthermore, it will also run several charters prior to the service launch, with the first two scheduled for March 20 and March 24. JAT Yugoslav Airlines previously ran services between Belgrade and Tehran, launching flights on April 19, 1991. The airline also opened its representative office in the Iranian city. The route was popular with a considerable number of transfer passengers to the United States at the time. However, it was short-lived with the collapse of Yugoslavia halting all international operations.

Serbia and Iran inked a bilateral Air Service Agreement last July and Serbia abolished visa requirements for Iranian passport holders in September, thus becoming the only European country to do so. Iran has also waived visas for Serbian nationals. Iran Air maintains services to a number of European cities, including Amsterdam, Cologne, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Istanbul, Milan, Moscow and Vienna. It will soon launch flights to Budapest as well. The carrier began a fleet renewal program in 2016 after international sanctions imposed onto the country were lifted. It is in the process of taking delivery of new A320, A321 and ATR 72 aircraft. Prior to the lifting of sanctions, Iran Air used Belgrade as a refuelling stop on its flights from Western Europe to Tehran, but never held commercial rights to sell tickets to and from the Serbian capital.

Comments

  1. Crazy to think that there will be 3 airlines flying from Tehran to Belgrade! Congrats.

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    Replies
    1. And one of them with a wide body, which is nice.

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  2. Belgrade is on the front cover of this month's Homa, Iran Air's inflight magazine :)

    https://i.imgur.com/hDRAxVV.jpg

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  3. Good work. Shows what visa abolishment can do.

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    1. Yes, but its with good reason most countries have visa policies for Iranians. The country has one of the highest number of refugees and it remains to be seen how many will use the new flights to stay in Serbia. Talking to young people most want to leave. BUt Serbia is a nice country...

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    2. They wont be staying in Serbia. They will just pass through here to the rest of Europe.

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    3. Oh other countries are watching ;)

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  4. Missed opportunity for Air Serbia.

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    1. If JU had a regional jet like Embraer e90 or SSJ or even a Bombardier CS100 it could start not only IKA but many more destinations.
      Also increase frequencies to destinations that it does not fly daily.

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    2. No way that someone would fly 4+ hours aboard an ultra narrow body. its painful....the fact YM is going to do it doesnt mean its good.

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    3. By the time Air Serbia recognizes the opportunity market will be saturated by carriers from Iran. Similar to what is now happening with Istanbul and what can happen with China market. Air Serbia is unable to convert opportunities into growth.

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    4. People fly from Toronto to Portland (5hrs) on an Embraer. Most people can't tell the difference between a regional jet and a 737/A320. What they do notice is if the engines are under the wings or on the tail.

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  5. Nice. This is the second route to come out of abolishing visas.

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    1. Yes, new potential Serbian citizens ;)

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    2. Yep sure. When you can't use your standard arguments that the route is political or subsidised, then use that the route is established for refugees. God forbid it's established because there is demand.

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    3. I think it is mostly going to be for tourists coming in groups. Shame JU did not introduced the route. It could have been a money maker.

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  6. The plane that's flying this first flight is 26 years old :D

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  7. So BEG will have three widebodies this summer: IKA, PEK and JFK.

    Shame about TK.

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    1. With so many Middle East carriers starting and/or increasing flights to our region there would be less and less need for everyone connecting in IST.
      Bad news for TK but good news for us passengers.

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    2. The number of Turks visiting Belgrade in February grew by 42%. They have less and less need for transfers so at least here they are not affected by the other airlines.

      That's why they wanted to send the A330.

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    3. https://www.blic.rs/vesti/drustvo/turkis-erlajns-promovise-srpski-turizam/34y0yqw

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    4. Check here how TK worked to promote tourism from Iran and how many fam trips workshops and media trips they organized
      https://www.blic.rs/vesti/drustvo/turkis-erlajns-promovise-srpski-turizam/34y0yqw

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    5. 'Generalni menadžer "Turkiš erlajnsa" u Srbiji Mehmet Alagoz ističe da ova kompanija radi na promociji Srbije u svetu, i najavio da planira ovog leta da u Srbiju dovede veći broj turista iz Irana, koji važe za turiste koji najviše troše.'

      Great, so now not only will the Iranian airlines carry refugees but TK will as well? ;)

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  8. Good news and well done Serbia! First America, then China and now Iran.

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    Replies
    1. Hopefully by the end of the year another China route too.

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  9. It's without a doubt impressive that IKA-BEG will have more airlines and frequencies than some much larger European cities.

    We are only in March, I wonder if by summer time we might see some additional frequencies being added, especially on IR which seems to be almost sold out.
    Then again, it would be even cooler if they keep the same number of frequencies but in stead they start sending their A300-600! :D

    This summer, BEG will have 55 weekly flights to Asia, which is almost 8 a day. Impressive for an airport of this size.

    SAW: 4
    IKA: 6
    BEY: 7
    TLV: 12
    DOH: 7
    DXB: 7
    AUH: 10
    PEK: 2

    In my opinion, ESB and AMM are missing from the list.

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    1. Almost daily to Teheran. Crazy impressive.

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    2. Nemjee do you think that there is demand for flights to Saudi Arabia from BEG/Serbia?
      Could such flight work?

      Kind regards.

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    3. I think there is more demand for cargo flights than passenger ones.

      Serbia only assigned its first ever ambassador to the Kingdom the other day.
      The only way Saudi Arabia could work is thanks to transfer passengers. Unfortunately JU's network is still very weak for that scenario.

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    4. Whats so astonishing about that? Most Iranians want to leave their country and they are certainly happy if any can provide assistance like Serbia does.

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    5. Are you implying all those arriving on these flights are refugees?

      You seem to be rather ignorant on this topic so maybe it's time you realize that these are basically glorified charter flights and those who arrive on them are not going to stay here.

      I think you mixed up Kabul and Tehran.

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    6. well a bit of googling would do you good. Iran is an established democracy and its people are just willing to visit the world under free circumstances. You mix up Tehran and Tunisia, Morocco which are the biggest refugees countries.

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    7. I think the poor guy confused Iran and Iraq.

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    8. Lots of people are trying to flee Iran. There are multiple crises and instability there. Huge unemployment and lots of young people looking for better life

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    9. You just described the Balkans as well.

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    10. Why would you flee Iran for Serbia?

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    11. If one wants to ask for asylum in some of the Western countries is it much more convenient to buy 400 eur rt ticket or 1000 eur package that brings him to the border of Schengen zone. Hopefully that will be a tiny minority and most people will just come to have fun.

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    12. Nobody would flee Iran for Serbia, but some people might decide to stay for some time as migrants from other nations. Serbia is not very expensive, it is quite safe, interesting and friendly. If you are indeed fleeing political/religious or some other prosecution it is very fine place to flee and wait for other options.

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    13. What no one is mentioning is that all Iranians arriving to BEG are grilled at the passport control and all those who are suspicious are refused entry.

      You are making a big deal out of nothing. Unbelievalble that every time something good happens to BEG trolls come on here with some random story of how this is actually bad.

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    14. Exactly! It is called jealousy

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  10. BEG should handle 380.000 passengers in March without a problem.

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    Replies
    1. That is a fantastic number! Who could have thought of that being possible only a few years ago?
      Do you have any info about ASL's marketshare?

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    2. JU's LF dropped by some 10 points in the first two months of 2018 so I think its marketshare at BEG is around 45% since foreign airlines are stepping up.

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  11. TLV is asian airport? Oh my dear God....

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    1. Where is Israel located, according to you?

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    2. It's located on the Asian continent so that would make it an Asian airport.

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    3. In case you have never seen a map of the Middle East, Israel is an Asian country...

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    4. No, its an African airport actually

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    5. Isn't it Australian?

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    6. Yes, it's listed as an airport in Oceania.

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    7. I knew I was right!

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    8. People in the Balkans struggle with geography.

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    9. In political terms we can consider TLV to be a European airport. Israel is located in Asia but it is completely part of Western civilization.

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    10. Beirut was once considered Paris of the Middle East.

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    11. Well this is an aviation portal not a political one so TLV falls in the Asian category.

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    12. Aviation is very much about politics, much more than other industries :)

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  12. Should be landing soon. Over Bulgaria now.

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  13. Ex-YU thanks for the load!! It mean LF was 62% which is not bad at all.

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    1. But the flights have been sold out? I don't get it.

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    2. Why don't you read the article carefully once more?

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    3. Still don't get it. The first flight with 96 passengers (not sold out), but all others are sold out? Correct?

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    4. Yes. That's what the Iranian ambassador says.

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    5. And LF for return flight today?

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    6. What a stupid question. How many people do you expect on the first return flight if these are mostly tour groups and the individual ticket sales started last week? Seriously.

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    7. There were 4 passengers on the return flight. :)

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    8. Inaugural flight and loads 96/4!
      Very Iranian approach to doing business :)

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    9. Return flight was put on sale a week ago and could only be booked in Iran.

      If they had access to international banking system there would be more than 4 passengers on the flight back.

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    10. They have to sort this thing out! How do you buy ticket from other European countries, for example from Germany?

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  14. It's quite interesting how routes are evolving in the region:
    Serbia - receiving flights from Iran and China as well as Gulf + Israel massive increase
    Romania & Bulgaria - LCC routes to Jordan + Israel massive capacity increase & resuming flights to Egypt
    Macedonia - Historic flights to Greece
    Bosnia - the rise of TZL
    Slovenia - the JP tiny monster is born
    Croatia - the Gulf carriers invasion

    On the other hand, BEG-IKA will even become one of the busiest routes if operated with widebodies. Very well done Serbia!

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    Replies
    1. +1

      I was thinking the same that IKA could easily become a top 10 destination out of Belgrade.

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    2. India should be our next targets for flights to BEG.

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  15. Does anyone know what happened to the Royal Air Maroc flights to Belgrade? Will those happen?

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    1. They just announced Budapest flights, so they many announce Belgrade soon as well.

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    2. Or maybe not BEG soon since they announced BUD.

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  16. Iran and Yugoslavia had tight relations.

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    Replies
    1. Iran was Yugoslavia's top economic partner in Asia. Today it's just a fraction of what it was with Slovenia having the biggest economic partnership out of all ex-YU countries.

      Serbia's trade with Iran is just $22 million.

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  17. Just landed :)

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    Replies
    1. Yep, parked at gate A2.

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    2. It was next to Qatar. It must be a very nice sight.

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  18. Good work. Congrats BEG.

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  19. Till May tickets are blocked (and that does not mean they are sold out), and from May you can buy ticket all summer with no problem at all by Amadeus.

    So Iran ambasador did not tell true.

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    Replies
    1. Well, he might have been telling the truth. It could be that those seats were already bought by various tour agencies.

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    2. Huh? Then why is every flight booksble from May onwards?

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    3. Otkud znaš koliko je mesta ostavljeno za slobodnu prodaju? Možda puste svega 10 a ostalo prepuste agencijama.

      Čisto sumnjam da ambasador laže.

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    4. Da, političari ne lažu.

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    5. On je diplomata, ne političar. Ali dobro ljudima kao što si ti svaka dobra vest vezana za Srbiju ne odgovara.

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    6. "On je diplomata, ne političar."
      Hahaha... Hhaahaa
      A to se tebi mnogo razlikuje?

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    7. Maybe the best solution would be to write to the Iranian embassy and to ask for a clarification.

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  20. This is really great news for BEG, Serbia and the wider region.

    What's even more impressive is that Belgrade will have almost daily flights to Iran.

    Unbelievable. BEG will have a lot of diversity and its passengers will have a lot of choice.

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    Replies
    1. Lets wait to see if all three companies put tickets for sale to Serbian travellers. Iranians on the other hand will have great offer.

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  21. No, this route was not established for refugees, however, my prediction that around 10% of the passangers will use Belgrade as a starting point for illegal crossing into the EU. I saw a report on TV that a number of Iranian lurking around Serbia rose gradually and that they are all looking for a route how to get into Hungary and Schengen zone. I am afraid they might re-establish visas in the near future if the trend continues.

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    Replies
    1. Those same media houses who are now attacking Iranians were praising refugees last year. The change in the song they are singing has to do with their hate for Iran.

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    2. These same media are saying these flights will lead to a increase in refugees from Iran heading to EU. when and if this happens these same media will not attack refugees for coming, but report on how they live in Serbia and how they are treated.
      There is a difference. Reasonable people do not hate any country, but someone could hate the policies of a country.

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    3. +1

      If it was a charter flight from Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan these media would be crying how it's beautiful that we are helping refugees and how they should come and stay here forever.

      However, Iran is a big enemy of their financiers so they have to attack them.

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    4. I'm not sure what media you were referring to. I was referring to non-state media.

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    5. We are also talking about non-state media.

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    6. So why would non-state media, which is critical of Serbian government, attack Iran because they attack the financiers of the Serb gov.?

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    7. Non-state media is not completely against the government.When it comes to the immigrants from the Middle East they sing the same song.

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    8. It was one media report on one TV. Completely professionally done, pointing to emerging societal problem and bringing the story from various angles.

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    9. Sure it was.

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  22. What are the prospects of IranAir becoming a major world airline in he foreseeable future? We know theyre going to take deliver of more than 100 new aircraft, half of which will be widebody. Will they be comparable to TK or MEB3 when it comes to connecting to further Asian destinations?

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    Replies
    1. Iran has lots of problems. Doubt they will invest in mega connector project. Good luck to IRAN Air!

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  23. That depends entirely on Donald Trump. Therefore - nobody knows.

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  24. Wait until the hundreds of Airbuses arrive in a couple of years. Iran will be grand. Do not forget the historic orders a couple of years of ago by various Irani carriers.
    MEB3 might become MEB4

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  25. Those hundreds of new airbuses will just replace those hundreds of aincent ones that will retired.

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  26. Honestly I think most of those using these flights will be coming to Belgrade to drink, party, and let their hair down, both figuratively and literally. All things they can't do openly in Iran. Nothing wrong with that and good for the economy.

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    Replies
    1. Btw according to the latest police report the Iranian police will no longer put women in prison if they don't wear the hijab.

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    2. Well there are quite a few parties around Tehran! However, some might come for fun as well.

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    3. Honestly, I doubt you know Serbia well enough, and it’s wonderful cultural and touristic potential, still pretty undiscovered, to state such an uninformed point of view. Most of these tourists, judging by charters from last year, were parents with children. So please stop debasing Serbia as some sort of a dark hole of the universe and come and experience what our country has to offer, before you make your clearly cynical statement, laced with long-standing superiority complex issues.

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  27. Is there any chance we see other destinations between Serbia and Iran? Say another flights to Mashhad, Isfahan or maybe flights from INI to IKA?

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    Replies
    1. Yes Nis to Tehran double daily. Rolls eyes

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    2. And why not INI-IKA?
      If some Iranian agency starts bringing tourists to the South.

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    3. INI-IKA has more chances than ZAG-IKA

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    4. @last anon

      I would not go that far, but still there is a chance.

      Delete

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