Iran ready to strike deal with Airbus to buy 114 new jets
Iran has said it will buy 114 Airbus jets to revitalise the countries flag carrying airline’s ageing fleet in the first major commercial deal announced since the lifting of sanctions under its nuclear agreement.
It is expected a multi billion pound deal to buy the planes which includes an order for eight A380 super jumbo’s and 16 A350 will be signed between national carrier Iran Air and Airbus when Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani visits Paris this week.
Rouhani will travel to Italy and France from Monday to Wednesday, on his first visit to Europe since the implementation of the deal curbing Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of punishing economic sanctions.
Rouhani has hailed the agreement as a “new chapter” for Iran as its economy returns to global markets.
Modernising the country’s air fleet and infrastructure is a top priority, with Akhoundi saying Sunday that only 150 of the country’s 250 planes are operational.
“We have been negotiating for 10 months” for the purchase of planes but “there was no way to pay for them because of banking sanctions”, state media quoted Akhoundi as saying.
“We need 400 long- and mid-range and 100 short-range planes,” he said.
He said the first batch of new planes would arrive in Iran by March 19 but provided no financial details of the deal with Airbus.
An Airbus spokesman declined to comment.
Akhoundi’s deputy, Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan, told AFP that Iran “essentially wants to buy Airbus A320s, A321s and A330s”.
“We will take delivery in 2016 and 2017 of Airbus A320s and A321s, with the A330s coming later,” he said.
“From 2020, we will take delivery of Airbus A350s and A380s. We want eight A380s and 16 A350s.”
Iran, with a population 79 million, has a good road network but still needs major transport upgrades, which Tehran hopes will boost tourism and trade.
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