Iran adds new planes to refurbish air fleet despite bans
Iran has added a number of new planes less than 10 years old to its air fleet in order to renovate the sector despite international sanctions imposed on the country over its peaceful nuclear program.
A report by Tasnim news agency said on Sunday that the Iranian Minister of Road and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi will soon break the news on new planes and provide the details of the development.
Last month, Akhoundi noted that the country has been negotiating with companies supplying airplane parts in parallel with the progress of nuclear talks with the P5+1 group of countries.
“The current situation of the air fleet is not becoming to Iranian nation and the air fleet needs major investment. Therefore, we have conducted extensive negotiations with companies supplying planes … so that when sanctions are removed, contracts can be signed immediately,” he added.
Iranian Minister of Road and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi
The sanctions were imposed at the beginning of 2012 by the US and EU claiming that there is a military aspect to Iran’s peaceful nuclear program; an allegation Iran categorically rejected.
The Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group – the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China – reached an interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Geneva last November, which was followed by a statement of mutual understanding on April 2, 2015, in the Swiss city of Lausanne. A key point of Lausanne statement was a promise to lift a series of economic sanctions on Iran. Following the understanding, Iranian officials said international companies have voiced interest in resuming cooperation with Tehran.
The Iranian minister of road and urban development said, “In parallel with renovating the fleet, we must be able to restructure major Iranian airlines because there are many airlines operating in Iran, but not all of them are fit for international competition.”
Akhoundi noted that the first priority in this regard was to upgrade Iran’s flag carrier, Iran Air, and turn it into a world-class company.
Earlier in April, head of Iran Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said the country needs to buy up to 500 passenger planes in the next 10 years to renovate its aging fleet.
Ali Reza Jahangirian added that Iranian airlines are currently operating with a fleet of about 140 aircraft, which is “very lower than average international norms in terms of international indexes of population and area.”
On May 4, vice president of Boeing for sales in Middle East, Russia, and Central Asia, told a United Arab Emirates newspaper that his company has set its sights on the Iranian aviation market and expects a “very strong” demand in the country.
“We’ve done a pretty good assessment on our side and we think the demand, should things open up, would be very strong,” Martin Bentrott added.