Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 24 By Fatih Karimov- Trend:
Iran plans to participate in manufacturing planes which will be sold by Airbus to the country, the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani said. Rouhani made the remarks at the commemoration ceremony of the 55th anniversary of founding Iran Air, the Islamic Republic's flag carrier on Feb. 24, ILNA news agency reported.
"During my trip to Paris I told Airbus head that we will not be only buyer, and Iranians should participate in manufacturing the planes," Rouhani said. It was agreed that the wings and fuselage of the aircraft will be made partly by Iranian side, Rouhani said. The European Airbus company last month agreed to sell Iran 118 planes.
Iranian carriers have among the oldest fleets in global aviation following decades of sanctions that have left them unable to leverage its geographical location and a domestic market of nearly 80 million people. 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.
Responding to certain criticism against the Iran-Airbus deal, Rouhani said "how long must Iranian people continue to be humiliated by flying on airlines formed tens of years ago? How long must they go from one travel agency to another and use foreign airlines for trips to other countries in the region and the world?" Elsewhere, he stressed that the aviation industry will be a source of power and authority for Iran, adding the Islamic Republic should revive its geopolitical position in the region.
"Not only Iran is the shortest link between the east and the west and serves as the best aviation hub for traveling between these two points, but it can also serve as the best tool for transferring culture and politics," said Rouhani.