Iran to make massive Airbus jet order

Posted on 27 Jan 2016 by Michael Cruickshank

The Iranian government has announced this week that it plans to make a massive purchase of aircraft manufactured by Airbus Group.

All up the country plans to buy at least 114 aircraft from the company, in order to replace its fleet of older craft.

The deal will reportedly be finalised during a visit to Paris by Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani this week.

The order itself will be made up of a wide variety of aircraft produced by the European manufacturer, including A320s and A340s. The first deliveries of these jets to Iranian flag carrier Iran Air are expected to begin in mid 2016.

Iran Air is also reportedly interested in the purchase of at least 8 A380 jets, the largest passenger aircraft produced in the world.

Following the successful dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program as part of a landmark deal, a large number of sanctions have been removed from the country, giving it a significant cash boost.

The government has identified passenger aircraft as one key area of investment in which it needs to make up lost ground.

“We need about 400 long- and medium-haul aircraft and 100 short-haul planes to be used as air taxi,” said Iranian Minister of Transportation Abbas Akhoundi according to state-run Press TV.

Despite the optimism by the Iranian government, Airbus has remained coy about how close the deal is to being finalised.

“The sanctions have only just been lifted allowing commercial discussions to begin,” said Airbus vice president for media relations, Stefan Schaffrath according to the New York Times.

“Although Iran clearly has a need for new aircraft, we conform strictly to all applicable international laws.”

Iran is also reportedly in talks with Airbus’ main competitors – Bombardier, Boeing and Embraer – to purchase additional craft to supplement its fleet.

While the exact cost of the purchase is unknown, it is being reported to be in the ballpark of $50 billion, making it one of the largest civil aviation purchases of all time.

To offset some of these costs, officials in Iran are reportedly seeking to acquire the aircraft under lease or sale/leaseback deals.