Iran buys 9 passenger planes, new record in 3 decades

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 10

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

An Iranian airline has bought nine Airbus passenger planes which is a new record after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The planes including seven Airbus A340-600, one A310 Airbus and one A321 Airbus were bought by Iran's Mahan Air, Maghsoud Asadi Samani, secretary of Iran's Aviation Companies Association said.

The planes are 12-13 years old and have entered the country in recent days, Asadi Samani said, Iran's Fars news agency reported May 10.

The planes were bought from European countries and will increase the passenger capacity of Iran's civil aviation fleet by 3,000 seats.

The imported aircrafts are maintained in very good conditions, Asadi Samani said, adding once the Civil Aviation Organization issued the needed licenses the planes will join the country's fleet officially.

Iran's administration has banned domestic airlines from importing or renting the planes older than 15 years aimed to renew the Islamic Republic's civil air fleet.

The US-led sanctions on aircraft and spare parts exports to Iran have left the Iranian airlines saddled with not only some of the oldest fleet in the Middle East, but in the world.

Last year, Ali Reza Jahangirian, head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization said the country's airliners would need to order 400 aircraft over the next 10 years to replace its depleting and ageing fleet.

Out of Iran's 250 commercial planes, about 150 were flying while the rest are "not functional" due to a lack of spare parts, the Iranian official said at the time.

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.

While Iran has attempted to kick start its own commercial aviation manufacturing industry and has also sourced aircraft from Russia and Ukraine, its efforts to acquire Western-made aircraft and spare parts have largely failed due to sanctions.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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