Iran continues manufacturing IrAn-140 passenger plane despite fatal crashes

Iran continues manufacturing IrAn-140 passenger plane despite fatal crashes

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 17

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

The Islamic Republic continues manufacturing IrAn-140 passenger jets despite the plane's deadly crashes in recent years.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani ordered all IrAn-140 passenger jets be banned from flying following a tragic passenger plane crash in the capital Tehran last August.

"Despite the flying ban, we continue manufacturing IrAn-140 plane," Mohammad Ali Sirati, managing director of Iran Airplane Manufacturing Company (HESA) said, Fars news agency reported May 17.

The Ukrainian Antonov aircraft is assembled in Iran, called IrAn-140 under the license issued by HESA. This aircraft is designed by the Ukrainian Antonov ASTC bureau as the successor for the Soviet An-24.

The first fatal crash of IrAn-140 occurred during a test flight in 2009, killing the five crews.

The deadliest crash occurred in August 2014, shortly after plane's takeoff from Tehran Mehrabad International Airport. 40 people killed in the disaster.

Alongside with producing the 52 passenger IrAn-140, the Islamic Republic also planes to manufacture a 70 passenger plane in the new future.

"Due to our experience in the production of passenger aircraft, design and production of a new plane with capacity of carrying 70 passengers is on the agenda," Sirati said.

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.

Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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