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EghtesadOnline: Iranian airlines have purchased eight secondhand passenger planes, says the head of Civil Aviation Organization of Iran.

“Eight airplanes have been imported into the country, but they have not received the operational permit from CAO yet ... These planes have been manufactured by western planemakers in 2004-05,” Touraj Dehqani Zanganeh was also quoted as saying by Airlinepress.ir.

The official noted that 16 more used airplanes will be imported by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20). 

Zanganeh noted that private airliners have purchased these airplanes, without providing further details. He also referred to Iran’s deal with Boeing, ATR and Airbus following Iran’s nuclear agreement, saying any change in the current conditions is likely to help the aviation industry renew its aged fleet. 

Flag carrier IranAir is enquiring about the status of its shelved aircraft order with Boeing. The carrier ordered a mix of 737 MAXs and 777s in 2016. However, the reimposition of sanctions in 2018 means the order was in serious doubt. 

With US President Joe Biden now in power, IranAir is once again trying to clarify its order status, Simple Flying reported.

The airline has reportedly reached out to Boeing to find out what will happen to its massive order under President Biden. 

Currently, US sanctions prevent both Airbus and Boeing from exporting any aircraft to Iran. However, the new administration could reverse this order at some point.

The deal between IranAir and Boeing was valued at $16.5 billion and would have supported 100,000 jobs, according to the manufacturer. 

However, former president, Donald Trump’s arrival dampened any expectations, with Boeing delivering no aircraft to Iran since the order and has no planned deliveries for now.

While Iran is not too sure about its Boeing order book, it does have some hope for its Airbus deal. 

“Iran’s contract with Airbus and ATR has been suspended … There is definitely a possibility that ATR and Airbus contracts will be reactivated. If an opening occurs, they will have to return to the contracts,” Zanganeh said.

But even for Airbus to export aircraft, it will require US approval since the aircraft use American technology. For now, there is little evidence that the orders are going to progress in the near term.

For IranAir, the orders with Boeing and Airbus were key to finally modernizing its relatively aged fleet. 

Data from Planespotters.net show that the airline currently operates a fleet of 39 planes, with eight Airbus A300s, two A310s and nine A320s, one cargo 747, one MD-82 and three Fokker F100s.

The average age of the fleet, which includes 16 new planes, is 18.6 years. Before the sanctions were reinstated, the carrier did manage to take delivery of 13 ATR 72s, one A321 and two A330s. While this did help modernize the fleet slightly, IranAir needed far more narrow and widebodies to replace planes like the A300s.

With the likes of the 737 MAX and A320neo out of reach for now, IranAir has been inducting secondhand jets instead. The carrier took three A319s in late 2019, hoping to grow its small fleet quickly.

After the Islamic Revolution, as a result of US economic sanctions against the country, airliners in Iran were unable to expand or replace its fleet.

The prolonged period of time, during which Iranian airlines were under international sanctions and barred from purchasing spare parts and new planes, has led to a dramatic rise in their average fleet age and a drastic decline in safety record.

The imposition of international sanctions over Iran's nuclear program exacerbated the situation for the flag carrier.

However, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with six world powers paved the way for Iran to renew its aging fleet.

Following the lifting of sanctions in January 2016, IranAir finalized contracts for purchasing 100 Airbus jets, 80 Boeing jets and 20+20 ATR aircraft. It has taken delivery of 11 planes so far: One Airbus A321, two Airbus A330s and eight ATR 72-600s. 

Later, as the US reimposed unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic, the delivery process of the orders placed by IranAir came to a halt after the US Treasury Department revoked the licenses of Boeing and France’s Airbus to sell commercial planes to Iran Air.

ATR initially hoped it would receive permission from OFAC to supply the remaining seven aircraft, but later accepted that this would not happen.

The aggregate value of the deals was estimated at $20-30 billion.

In addition to the 13 ATR 72-600 turboprops delivered to Iran Air, the flag carrier also received an Airbus A321 and two Airbus A330s.

Boeing did not deliver any aircraft as part of the order.

 

Iran Airlines Passenger Iranian Airlines