Iranian airline to buy five Airbuses

Business Materials 1 October 2012 18:25 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct.1/ Trend F.Milad/

Iran AirTour will ink a deal today to buy five Airbus passenger planes, the managing director of the airline stated.

The airplanes will be delivered by February 10, Sirous Baheri told the ILNA News Agency.

Each plane will have a capacity of 200 seats, he added.

The president of Civil Aviation Organization of Iran said in April that "We plan to increase the number of aircraft and replace the older planes with new ones".

"We also plan to raise the lifespan of the fleets by 25 percent," Reza Nakhjavani told the Mehr News Agency.

U.S. sanctions prevent Tehran from updating its 35-year-old American aircraft, and European parts or planes are extremely difficult to obtain. Iran now relies on Russian aircraft, mostly older planes built before the fall of the Soviet Union for which parts are harder to replace.

Although some technical openings exist for Iranian carriers to obtain U.S. spare parts, such as conducting the repairs outside Iran, the difficult licensing and oversight procedures make them extremely difficult to act upon. Meanwhile, Iran's state carrier Iran Air was placed under specific U.S. sanctions last year over alleged links to the military.

Iran has a history of frequent air accidents blamed on its aging aircraft and poor maintenance. Iran Air's fleet mainly includes Boeing and Airbus aircraft, many of them bought before the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution that led to a breakdown in ties between Tehran and Washington.