Dubai-Iran trade set to soar when Emirates begins flights to Mashhad next week

Dubai’s trade with Iran will get a major boost when Emirates begins services to Iran’s second city, Mashhad, next week.

The airline, which will commence passenger flight to the city next Tuesday, estimates that it can fly nearly 8,000 tonnes of freight goods to Mashhad yearly, in addition to the 17,500 tonnes it already sends to Tehran via its SkyCargo freight division.

“We anticipate that trade between the UAE and Iran will further flourish as a result of the launch of this new, direct five times weekly service,” said Khalid Al Hinai, Emirates vice president for commercial cargo in the Middle East and Iran.

Emirates’s new service closely follows Iran’s historic deal, signed last month, with six world powers to limit its nuclear ambitions. It could take as long as nine months for western-imposed economic sanctions to be lifted, but Emirates has moved fast to exploit the lucrative trade potential.

On Monday, the airline said hat trade with Mashhad would mainly consist of Iranian exports of fruit, vegetables, carpets, saffron, and nuts, as well as its imports of meat, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, machinery and motoring parts.

None of these sectors was previously covered by western sanctions. Emirates has been flying to Tehran since 1990.

The Mashhad service will give Emirates a commercial foothold in the east of the country, close to the border with Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, which has traditionally been an important trading route in central Asia straddling the “Silk Route” to China.

“Iran is an important market for Emirates SkyCargo, and with our Dubai hub strategically located between East and West, we are able to offer Iranian manufacturers access to our global network coupled with a range of innovative products and services, such as our cool chain offering for time and temperature-sensitive commodities,” said Mr Al Hinai.

The cargo will be transported in the holds of Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which will also be able to carry up to 278 passengers on each Mashhad trip. Emirates also has a fleet of 14 dedicated freight-carrying aircraft.

Emirates SkyCargo already carries Iranian exports to Dubai, Kuwait, Riyadh, Bahrain, Osaka, Tokyo and Melbourne.

An Emirates spokeswoman said the new service would help to link parts of the Iranian diaspora via the global connectivity of Dubai International Airport.

Mashhad has a population of more than 3 million and, as an important religious site, attracts millions more pilgrims each year.

Several regional airlines – including Emirates’s no-frills sister carrier, flydubai – already fly there.

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