Mahan Air to fly Airbus despite US threat
Iran’s Mahan Air will begin Wednesday using the first of eight Airbus aircraft purchased recently on the international route, the Fars news agency reported.
The A340 passenger plane will be initially used on the Tehran-Dubai and Tehran-Istanbul routes before being operated in long-haul journeys, it said.
Mahan Air flew the eight A340 and A320 used planes to Mehrabad and Imam Khomeini airports in Tehran and Mashhad airport last month.
The US government imposed sanctions on two aviation companies in Iraq and the UAE for selling the commercial aircraft to Iran.
The Treasury Department designated Iraq-based Al-Naser Airlines and Sky Blue Bird Aviation in the United Arab Emirates as sanctions violators.
Mahan Air is under US sanctions as of Oct. 2011 but Iran has rejected any possible seizure of the planes.
Mohammad Khoda-Karami, deputy head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization (CAO), has said US sanctions against Iran’s aviation industry lack any legal basis.
“Iran will never wait for the permission of any country for exercising its legitimate rights,” he said.
Fars said all the eight aircraft have been registered by Iran Civil Aviation Organization and Mahan Air and have legal identification numbers for operation.
The news agency said the remaining seven aircraft are currently being painted and prepared for flight.
Mahan Air is Iran’s second carrier, and along with flag carrier Iran Air, is working to rebuild the country’s aging commercial fleet which has suffered a series of aviation mishaps under US and European sanctions.
Head of the Iran Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Ali Reza Jahangirian has said Iran needed to buy up to 500 passenger planes in the next 10 years to renovate its fleet.