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Mahan Air Returns Boeing 747-300 To Service

A Mahan Air 747 (Photo: Amin Nouabahr, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

The least successful model or the Boeing 747 family, the Boeing 747-300, made an unexpected return to the aviation scenes a few days ago, when Iranian carrier Mahan Air returned one of the type to service after over five years of storage.

The airline is scheduling a service between Mehrabad International Airport (THR) in Tehran and Kish Island (KIH) with a 747 aircraft and, according to various reports, the flights will be operated by the Boeing 747-300 registered EP-MNE, which was salvaged after an accident occurred on October 15, 2015.

On that day, the aircraft was operating a service from Tehran to Bandar Abbas International Airport (BND) with 19 crew members and 422 passengers on board, and just after take-off engine number three suffered an uncontained engine failure that damaged engine number four as well as parts of the fuselage, Simple Flying reports quoting Sam Chui.

After over five years of work, a heavy C-check and with two engines replaced through the cannibalization of EP-MND, a retired Boeing 747-300 also previously owned and operated by Mahan Air, the aircraft was able to return to service and is now going to be operating on the 2-hour, 30-minute route from the Iranian capital, Tehran, to the resort destination of Kish Island, a free trade island in the Persian Gulf approximately 100 miles off the coast of Dubai.

747-300 Background

The first of its family with a stretched upper-deck, the Boeing 747-300 was the largest passenger aircraft ever produced when it was launched with a capacity of over 400 people in standard configuration, which could increase to a whopping 584 for the SR (short-range) version, specially produced for the Japanese domestic market. Only 81 aircraft of this type were sold, but since Boeing superseded it with the more modern 747-400 in 1985, just two years after the launch of the 747-300, airlines quickly redeployed the model for cargo service, even if Boeing had not envisaged a cargo version of this aircraft. The first 747-300 was delivered to Swissair in 1983. The last was received by Sabena in 1990. In 2008, Qantas retired its last Boeing 747-300 with a flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles via Auckland, after which the aircraft was to be sent to the California desert to be scrapped.

The poor success of this model was attributed to the economics of this specific aircraft: its list price of $82 million was 24% more than the $66 million needed to buy a brand new Boeing 747-200, which was still a relatively new model, reports International Aviation HQ. Furthermore, it was quickly replaced by its successor, the Boeing 747-400, which could be flown by a crew of just two people, eliminating the flight engineer, therefore cutting down flight costs significantly.

Vanni Gibertini


  • Vanni Gibertini

    Vanni fell in love with commercial aviation during his undergraduate studies in Statistics at the University of Bologna, when he prepared his thesis on the effects of deregulation on the U.S. and European aviation markets. Then he pursued his passion further by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Air Transport Management at Cranfield University in the U.K. followed by holding several management positions at various start-up carriers in Europe (Jet2, SkyEurope, Silverjet). After moving to Canada, he was Business Development Manager for IATA for nine years before turning to his other passion: sports writing.

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