Jan 31, 2016, 9:59 AM
News Code: 81942404
0 Persons
Airbus says Iran has capacity for its largest aircraft

Tehran, Jan 31, IRNA – Airbus has said Iran owns the capacity to use the largest aircraft it is seeking to purchase from the world aviation giant.

In a statement, the company said that “the deal covers new aircraft orders as well as 'a complete package of cooperation in the civil aviation sector.'

Iran agreed on Thursday to buy 118 Airbus aircraft worth approximately €23 billion ($25 billion), according to a memorandum of understanding signed during a visit to France by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

The Financial Times wrote on Saturday that “the deal to purchase 73 long-haul and 45 medium-haul planes”, to be finalized once international sanctions against Iran are fully lifted, was signed at a ceremony at the Elysée Palace attended by Rouhani and French President François Hollande.

It said the “order includes A380s – the world's largest passenger plane – in a boost for Airbus.”

The deal covers new aircraft orders as well as 'a complete package of cooperation in the civil aviation sector', Airbus said in a statement.

According to the newspaper, Iran's civil aviation fleet reportedly numbers around 140 aircraft, with an average age of approximately 25 years. The deal should allow Iran to retire planes in desperate need of replacement – the country currently has one of the world's worst air safety records.

'Today's announcement is a first step towards restoring the prestige of the civil aviation sector in the region,' said Iran Air's CEO, Farhad Parvaresh.

The agreement would be worth $25bn at list prices and is believed to be the biggest aircraft order by Iran since the revolution in 1979.

The deal, which will also see Airbus supporting the development of national air-traffic control services, airport operations and aircraft maintenance, is one of the first tangible results for most Iranian people of the nuclear agreement struck with world powers last year and which resulted in the lifting of international sanctions just a couple of weeks ago.

Fabrice Brégier, chief executive of Airbus commercial aircraft, told the Financial Times that the deal agreed with Iran Air was the beginning of a longer relationship.

Further purchases, possibly of second-hand jets, could be agreed at a later date. As part of the agreement, Airbus would help with the training of pilots, maintenance of new aircraft and preparing Iranian airports for the arrival of the superjumbos.

“This is trust we are building,” Mr Brégier said. “It is a big order but it is only a first.”

The A380s would start to be delivered in 2019. Assuming the appropriate export licences could be secured quickly, Mr Brégier said he expected to deliver as many as 10 short-haul and other long-haul aircraft by the end of this year. “The demand is huge,” he said.

Parvaresh said the purchase marked “the start of re-establishing our civil aviation sector as the envy of the region”.

Iran Air is buying 45 A320 single-aisle aircraft, of both the current and newest re-engined generation; 45 A330 wide-bodies; 16 of its newest A350 twin-aisle aircraft; and the 12 A380s. Although the deal signed on Thursday is not yet a binding agreement, Mr Brégier expected the sale to be finalised in the next month or two.