A new face will be in charge of The Airline of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran Air), and for the first time in the airline’s history it will be a female.
Outgoing Iran Air chairman and MD Farhad Parvaresh confirmed to Air Transport World that Iranian businesswoman and academic Farzaneh Sharafbafi will become the new CEO of the Iran’s national airline.
Sharafbafi is very qualified and skilled in academics, with a PhD in aerospace engineering and previous teaching experience at Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran and Shahid Sattari Aeronautical University, which also serves as Iran’s Air Force military academy. She also previously served on Iran Air’s board of directors as the director of the airlines’ research department.
Parvaresh told ATW Online, “Mrs. Shrafbafi is the first lady who will guide Iran Air. She is now head of the company and the assignment as CEO will be done in a month after formalities.”
The appointment of Sharafbafi to the CEO position of the airline follows an unusual trend recently showed by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, where he is appointing many women to management positions around the country, something that seemingly breaks tradition within the Islamic republic. Rouhani was recently re-elected president of Iran, winning 57% of the vote against hardline populist Ebrahim Raisi. Rouhani has shown displeasure towards the United States in recent months, likely due to the election of American president Donald Trump and his opposition towards diplomatic relations with Iran.
Outgoing CEO Farhad Parvaresh has left his position as leader of Iran Air to pursue the career as a representative of the Islamic Republic at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, Canada.
Iran Air has burst into the global aviation scene in recent years, with massive commercial aircraft orders worth billions proving the financial stability of the airline. The airline has 6 Airbus A320, 32 Airbus A320neo, 7 Airbus A321, 8 Airbus A330-200, 28 Airbus A330-900neo, 16 Airbus A350-1000, and 16 ATR 72-600 aircraft on order, which when delivered will bring the airlines’ fleet to 147 aircraft. In June of last year, the airline signed a tentative contract to Boeing for the purchase of 50 737 MAX 8, 15 777-300ER, and 15 777-9 aircraft, but the deal cannot be finalized until trade sanctions on Tehran are eased.
Iran Air currently flies to 56 destinations, 32 of which are domestic. Around 75% of the seats sold by the airline are for domestic passengers, but their global presence is increasing thanks to new aircraft coming online, like the Airbus A330-200 and Airbus A321. Along with many destinations in the Middle East, Iran Air flies to Amsterdam, Ankara, Cologne, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Istanbul, London, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, and Vienna in Europe, as well as Mumbai in east Asia. Resumption of services to Jeddah and Medina in Saudi Arabia are planned on July 23rd of this year.