Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
Iran signed a contract with ATR, the Italian manufacturer of turboprop aircraft, to buy 20 planes, the country's official IRNA news agency reported Feb. 1.
The contract was signed in Tehran between Iran Air, the Islamic Republic's flag carrier, and the European company.
Under the deal Iran will purchase 20 ATR 72 planes. The ATR 72 is a short-haul plane capable of carrying 70 passengers.
ATR is co-owned by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and Italian aerospace group Finmeccanica.
It was earlier announced that Tehran wants to buy up to 40 planes from ATR.
The Islamic Republic is expected to receive two or four passenger planes from ATR during the current year.
Iran signed a contract on Jan. 28 for the purchase of 118 Airbus aircraft, during President Hassan Rouhani's trip to France.
Iran and Airbus will ink the final contract on the acquisition of the airliners within 20 days, Iran's Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi said last week.
It is estimated that Iranian airlines currently have a total of 150 aircraft, which are up to 20 years old.
Back in April 2015, the head of Iran Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Ali Abedzadeh said the country needs to buy up to 500 passenger planes in the next 10 years to renovate its ageing fleet.
Analysts say Iran's air fleet will grow, however in the near term the country will have to settle for the lease of planes.