By Mahnaz Abdi

Iran Air in negotiations with non-European airplane manufacturers

November 4, 2018

TEHRAN- Iran Air, Iran’s national flag carrier, has started negotiations with the non-European manufacturers of airplanes in line with renovation of its fleet, Farzaneh Sharafbafi, the managing director of the airline, announced on Sunday.

“We will negotiate with any manufacturer which can supply airplanes for us without requiring permits from the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)”, she noted.
OFAC has cancelled licenses for Boeing and Airbus to sell airplanes to Iran after Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in May and reimposed sanctions on the country.

“We welcome any company which is able to provide the airplanes needed by Iran Air. We have even gone after planes such as Russia's Sukhoi Superjet 100 or planes made by non-European manufacturers”, Sharafbafi stated referring to his company’s plan for renovating its fleet.

Facing lack of modern aircrafts due to decades-long sanctions imposed by the West, Iran took the post-sanction opportunity to make deals with some European manufacturers for the purchase of new airplanes to renew its aging fleet.  

On January 28, 2016, Iran Air signed a deal with the French giant plane maker Airbus for the purchase of 118 Airbus jets worth $27 billion and it also inked a deal with Boeing on December 11, 2016 to buy 80 aircrafts valued at $16.6 billion. It was Iran’s biggest deal with an American company since the 1979 revolution and the U.S. embassy takeover.

And in April 2017, Iran Air signed a contract to buy 20 planes from Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR.

Although, just a few number of the ordered planes (three Airbuses and 13 ATRs) were delivered before Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear deal and imposed new sanctions on Iran which makes new deliveries out of the question.

Now under the new U.S. sanctions, international plane manufacturers that use at least 10 percent U.S. made parts in their products have decided to avoid the Iranian market.

Most modern commercial planes have more than 10 percent in U.S. parts, the threshold for needing U.S. Treasury approval. But Russian officials have been reported as saying Sukhoi is working on reducing the number of U.S. parts in the hopes of winning an Iranian order for up to 100 aircraft, Reuters reported on Saturday.

on April 25, two Iranian airliners, Iran Airtour and Aseman Airlines, signed memorandums of understandings with Sukhoi on the purchase of 40 aircrafts from the Russian company.

Based on the MOUs signed on the sidelines of the Eurasia Airshow in Turkey, each airliner will receive 20 Sukhoi Superjet-100 (SSJ-100) passenger planes, Tass quoted Sukhoi Civil Aircraft President Aleksandr Rubtsov as saying.

Rubtsov said that the contracts will be signed by the end of 2018. The catalog price for a SSJ100R aircraft is about $52 million.

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