Baku, Azerbaijan, May 19
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
The Islamic Republic has suspended manufacturing IrAn-140 passenger plane, Deputy Head of Flight Standards of Civil Aviation Organization of Iran Hamid Habibi said.
Habibi was reacting to a statement by Mohammad Ali Sirati, the managing director of Iran Airplane Manufacturing Company (HESA) who said despite the flying ban, the company continues manufacturing the plane.
Habibi emphasized that for the time being, HESA is not permitted to produce IrAn-140, Iran's official IRIB news agency reported May 19.
The Islamic Republic civil aviation organization has banned production and use of the IrAn-140 air craft as well as issuing fly licenses for the plane, Habibi said.
He further said that the ban will remain untill determining the cause of last year crash and removing the problems.
The Ukrainian Antonov aircraft which was assembled in Iran under the IrAn-140 name has experienced various crashes in recent years. 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.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani ordered all IrAn-140 passenger jets to be banned from flying following the tragic crash.
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