Iran has taken the first step of an agreement to buy 114 Airbus planes, an announcement made while the economic and financial sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program are lifted.
The announcement by Abbas Akhoondi, Iranian Minister of Transport, to the Tasnim press agency has not been confirmed by Airbus, which indicated that it did not engage in talks until the sanctions were not lifted definitively.
“Although Iran clearly needs new planes, we must comply strictly with the law and until all measures relating to the embargo to be lifted, no commercial discussions can take place,” said a spokesman for Airbus. A contract for 114 aircraft represents a value of more than $ 10 billion at catalog prices.
Iran, with a population of 80 million, has fifteen airlines for about 150 planes, but is expected to need 400 new aircraft over the next decade to renew its fleet, which has experienced several crashes in recent years. The two main companies of the country, Iran Air and Mahan Air, would own together one hundred aeroplanes, among which forty for Iran Air (A300, A310, A320, B747, Fokker 100 and one McDonnell Douglas MD-82) with an average age of 23, which is twice the average age of the international fleet.
As a reminder, the sanctions imposed since 1995 by the US and European countries prevented Iran to buy spare parts or Western aircraft that would have enabled it to modernize its civilian fleet, now in a dilapidated condition, and partially pinned down on the ground. Iran had also embarked on the construction of aircraft of Russian and Ukrainian aircraft, including the Antonov An-140, intended to serve its domestic network.