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Japan’s Mitsubishi Sets Sight on Iran’s Aircraft Market

14 July 2016 18:06

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A senior official with Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp, a unit of Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, said the company is exploring business opportunities in Iran’s commercial airplane market.

Spokeswoman Miho Takahashi said the company was researching the Iranian market, but not in talks over a specific deal, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The Japanese company plans to sell 10 MRJ90 aircraft to Iran.

The MRJ made its maiden test flight in November and represents Japan’s long-held ambition to re-establish a commercial aircraft industry.

It comes after US lawmakers last week passed two amendments directed at Chicago-based Boeing aviation giant, which had offered Iranian airlines three models of new aircraft to replace the country’s aging fleet.

Ray Conner, the chief executive of Boeing’s commercial jetliner unit, said on Sunday that any effort to legislatively block its 80-jet deal with Iran Air should not unfairly disadvantage the plane maker against its rivals.

The legislation was added to a financial services spending bill that the House cleared by vote of 239-185.

Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) reached the landmark nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015. The deal ended international economic sanctions against Tehran, allowing airline manufacturers to re-enter the market.

Head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) Ali Abedzadeh said in June that Tehran and Boeing have reached a deal for the purchase of 100 aircraft in a bid to upgrade the country’s fleet.

Back in January, Iran had also signed a major deal worth $27 billion with aviation giant Airbus to purchase 118 planes from the company. The deal with Airbus was sealed during a state visit to Paris by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran has a fleet of 250 aircraft, of which 90 are grounded due to the economy or missing parts, Managing Director of Iran Air Farhad Parvaresh said recently.

Of that total, 80 percent will need to be renewed in the next decade, he said, adding that growth could add even more jets to Iran’s shopping list.

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