The history of the aviation industry in Iran dates back to more than 100 years ago. So, no surprise that this industry has evolved dramatically since then. It is interesting to know that the need to have an airport in Iran was first felt because of discovering the first oil well in Masjed Soleyman in Khuzestan province. In 1908, the first airplane in Iran landed in this city which is located in the southern part of the country. At that time, there was still no airport in Iran. So, an airport was constructed in Masjed Soleyman to facilitate the process of extraction of this valuable material. It also aimed to help the transfers of the engineering and other people who were working in this field.
A few years later and for the first time, in one of the last days of World War I, the people of Tehran saw an airplane flying over the sky. The aircraft was shipped by car from Russia to Tehran via Anzali Port. After mounting the pieces, the Russian pilot flew it at a low altitude above the city. As there was no airport in this city at the time, he landed the airplane in a place outside of the city which was flattened for this reason. Iran’s first official airport was, of course, Qaleh Morghi Airport, which was inaugurated in 1922.
22 years later, the Mehrabad airport with 20 airplanes was officially started to work. It was after the rapid growth in this industry and establishing a club called the Pilot Clubs in the country. Today, there are around 31 active airports in Iran.
As mentioned before, Mehrabad was the first airport in Tehran. Before establishing IKA international airport (Imam Khomeini Airport), Mehrabad was an international airport, handling both internal and external flights. But since 2007, all international flights were transferred to IKA. Today, only internal flights in addition to flights to Mecca are served by Mehrabad Airport. To travel to almost all major cities of Iran, there are several flights from this airport each day. In 2018, Mehrabad Airport handled near 126000 passengers. It is was among the busiest airport in Iran according to the number of travelers.
Mehrabad airport is located in the southwest of the capital, near Azadi Square. As mentioned before, the airport dates back to the Pahlavi era. The name of this airport comes from a village which at that time was located nearby. However, there is no village here anymore and the airport is surrounded by houses in the heart of the city. That´s one of the reasons why international flights are transferred to IKA which is pretty far from the city center.
For many years, all the passengers were traveling through Terminal 2. But today there are 6 terminals which are used by different airlines. Terminal 4 is dedicated to departure flights and terminal 6 is used for arrival flights. But still, the busiest terminal of Mehrabad airport is terminal number 2.
Terminal 1 serves for flights of Zagros, Kish, and Varesh Airlines. The inbound flights of Kish Air, Zagros and Varesh are done through Terminal 2 as well as all flights of Iran air, Ata, Karoon, Qeshm Air, and Meraj airlines.
Terminal 4 is used for flights of Mahan, Kaspian, Taban, Atrak, Aseman, Pouya, Saha, and Sepehran airlines. Terminal numbers 5 and 6 are dedicated to passengers who go to Mecca. There are also different facilities such as restaurants, coffee shops, banks and souvenirs shops in all terminals.
Please keep in mind that 20 minutes before the departure, the check-in gate will be closed. So, according to the rules, you should be at the airport at least one hour before any internal flights in Iran. There is still no way to do the check-in online, so you better plan your trip while keeping this in mind.
In addition, you can’t have more than 20 kilos while you are traveling inside the country and the weight of your carry-on bag can only be 4 kilos. So, be careful with your baggage in internal flights, as you have to pay extra money if your baggage is heavier than the mentioned weights.
The closest square to Mehabad airport is called Azadi square. So, if you manage to reach it by car or taxi, then you can easily go to the airport. But, just like any other parts of the world, the easiest, yet cheapest way to reach the airport is using the metro. You just need to use line number 4(the yellow line which is called Kolahdouz-Ekbatan) and take off in Bimeh station. From there, you can easily go to your terminal and take the flight. Traveling in Iran via internal airplanes is one of the most convenient and economical solutions. So, we suggest you to consider taking an internal flight if you have only a few days in Iran and are planning to visit different parts of this vast country.