Iran pays 4-5 times more for importing spare aircraft parts

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 10

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Iran pays four to five times more for importing aircraft spare parts, the deputy director of the Airline of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran Air) said.

"The country's aviation industry suffers the lack of the modern technology," Mohammad Reza Khoshnevisan said, Iran's ISNA news agency reported on May 10.

He went on to say that, ageing fleet as well as import of aircraft and its spare parts are the main challenge of the Iranian airlines.

Iran's four largest carriers - Iran Air, Aseman Airlines, Mahan Air and Iran Air Tours - all have average fleet age above 22 years, according to the Iranian media outlets.

Iran's aviation industry has been seriously affected by international sanctions, Khoshnevisan said, adding that the Iranian airlines are not able to compete with foreign companies.

"Iran's old planes consume 2-3 times more fuel compared to the new planes," he explained. "Iranian airlines are not able to renew their fleet since the 1979 revolution due to sanctions."

Out of Iran's 250 commercial planes, about 150 were flying while the rest are "not functional" due to a lack of spare parts, Ali Reza Jahangirian, head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organisation said on May 1.

Iran agreed in November to curtail its nuclear activities for six months from Jan. 20 in exchange for sanctions relief from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States. The deal provides for the sale of parts to flag carrier Iran Air, the fleet of which includes vintage Boeing and Airbus (AIR.PA) jetliners delivered as long ago as 1978.

A complete lifting of sanctions would require a comprehensive deal to end a decade-long stand-off over what Tehran maintains is a nuclear program for peaceful energy purposes.

The current, preliminary deal allows for the limited sale of commercial plane parts and services to Iran.

General Electric Co. (GE) has won U.S. Treasury approval to service 18 engines sold to Iran in the late 1970s. They will be serviced at facilities owned by GE or Germany's MTU Aero Engines, which is licensed to do the work.

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