There aren't a lot of Iranian models made in 400 scale and when this model was released by NG Models, in 2019, I admit I didn't even realise it was Iranian due to the Tajikistan rego. Since then I have expanded my interest in Iranian airlines and I've just managed to add this great model to the fleet. For my article on Iranian Airline Development see below:
Operations began the following year with a single ex-Yamal Airlines Tupolev Tu-154. This was not uncommon for an Iranian airline since the Soviet type was cheap, rugged and could be operated circumventing Western sanctions. A second aircraft, that remained on the Russian register as RA-85787, also joined the fleet at some point and wore Yamal colours with Taban titles and logo painted over the top. A third aircraft was also leased, this time from Tajik Air and remained registered as EY-85651. Unfortunately the type's reputation within Iran was poor and a series of crashes led to it being banned from February 20, 2010.
Somewhat ironically Taban's Russian registered Tu-154 was itself written off before the ban could come into effect on January 24th 2010. It crashed landing during bad weather at Mashhad although in this case pilot error was to blame. Fortunately everyone survived the crash. For more details see Taban Air Flight 6437.
Taban appears to have been able to acquire replacements for the Tu-154s in the form of a trio of early 90s MD-82s formerly operated by China Northern and China Southern. As you can see above the ancestry of the aircraft was clear. These three aircraft dodged the sanctions via an Armenian company called Ararat International Airlines. Only two acquired Iranian registrations in service with Taban and all three ended up with Iran Airtour quite quickly.
In mid-2011 Taban Air sourced five newer MD-88s, all former Onur Air frames, via the Ukrainian companies Khors Air and Bukovnya Aviation Enterprises, both of which have been regularly involved in the lease transfer of assets into Iran. These five aircraft appear to remain in service.
Taban Air has never been one of the largest Iranian airlines with the fleet hovering around the 8-10 aircraft mark for several years. The rest of the Iranian registered fleet has consisted of single Western aircraft ranging from a BAE RJ-85 to an Airbus A310. Other aircraft have been operated on lease such as at least two EK- registered 737-300s (EK-37013 and EK-37014) in 2016 and the above BAE 146-300 LZ-HBG.
The most unusual aircraft in the fleet has been a single Boeing 757-2Q8. This is as far as I'm aware the only 757 ever to make it onto the Iranian register, although several others have operated on lease to Iranian airlines they have always kept their Russian registrations. In general Iranian airlines have much preferred the Airbus A300 and A310 over the American 757 and 767. Taban's A310 appears to have visited St Petersburg a bit:
The 757 was one of ILFC's order (hence the Q8 designator) and delivered new to TACV Cabo Verde Airlines in March 1996 as D4-CBG. They operated it until early 2012. Upon return to the lessor it joined Tajik Air as EY-752, in April 2013, and in May 2014 the lease transferred to AerCap. Taban Air sub-leased it first in March 2015 for 5 months and then again in November 2015. Ownership passed to Taban Air in July 2016 and it became EP-TBI, however it seems it wasn't in service for long before being withdrawn. It was re-registered as EP-PSA and there has been talk of it flying for an outfit called Fly Persia, although I can't find much evidence of that.
The latest photo I can find of it is from June 26, 2017 when it was still in the same Tajik Air base colours with Taban titles and logo applied.
Taban Airlines itself appears to have continued operating its rather hotchpotch fleet and has most recently added a single 737-500 for a total of 8 active aircraft. Since its formation the Iranian scene has expanded and there are lots more competing carriers nowadays all struggling to survive the sanctions and now Covid too. Hopefully in the future they can acquire new types and continue to serve the people of Iran.
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I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: