Iranian airline saves $600,000 by repairing Fokker plane

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct.12/ Trend F.Karimov/

Iranian Naft Airlines has saved 15 trillion rials (about $600,000 based on the U.S. dollar exchange rate of 24,800 rials) by repairing a Fokker plane using domestic expertise, IRIB quoted the airline's managing director Gholamreza Qasemi as saying.

A major portion of the required spare parts has been imported, he added.

The international sanctions against the Iranian aviation industry have led to self-sufficiency in repairing planes, he said, adding that some 21,870 person-hour of working has been done to finish the repair job.

On September 1, Managing Director of Iran Airtour Airline Sirous Baheri said that over 60 per cent of Iran's total 220 airplanes are grounded due to technical and logistic issues.

Iranian airlines' air fleet is averagely 22 years old, the ISNA News Agency reported.

"Iranians airlines are facing great losses due to the low price of domestic flights' tickets," Baheri said.

"Iranian airlines are currently having difficulties to compete with the foreign airlines," he added.

"Not having connection with the manufacturers is one of the main problems of the domestic airlines, which has made it difficult for them to repair their airplanes," Baheri stated.

The head of the association of Iranian airlines Abdolreza Mousavi said in May that Iranian airlines are unable to pay off their fuel debts to the Oil Ministry due to their bad financial situation.

"Many airplanes of the national fleet have been grounded due to financial problems," he said, adding that spare parts and components are purchased from second-hand sources with great difficulties.

On January 14, Iran increased the price of fuel for international flights by 14,200 rials ($1.1) to 21,200 rials ($1.7), a triple rise within a week, The Jomhouri Eslami daily reported.

"The U.S. has been trying to ground the Iranian civil aviation industry for thirty years, but they could not. Instead, the Iranian administration grounded the industry within a week through increasing fuel prices by 14,200 rials," Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard, deputy speaker of Iran's Majlis (parliament), commented.

The recent 60-70 percent increase in Iranian airlines ticket prices have caused a 50 percent fall in the number of passengers, Mehr News Agency said.

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