ANKARA May 1 Barred by sanctions from buying
Western airliners since the 1970s, Iran has pent-up demand for
400 new planes, Tehran's top aviation official was reported as
saying, offering potential billions to manufacturers such as
Airbus and Boeing.
Iran won limited relief from Western sanctions after
agreeing to curtail its nuclear activities for six months under
an interim accord with world powers which took effect in
A complete lifting of sanctions would require a
comprehensive deal to end a decade-long stand-off over what
Tehran maintains is a nuclear programme for peaceful energy
"Iranian airlines will be ready to buy 40 passenger planes
every year for 10 years if sanctions are lifted," said Ali Reza
Jahangirian, head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organisation, the
Ettelaat newspaper reported on Thursday.
The 400 figure confirmed the top end of a range reported by
Reuters in November citing a senior Iranian official.
Boeing and Airbus, which took orders for
more than 2,800 aircraft from airlines and lessors in 2013,
would likely lead the battle for Iran's business.
Canada's Bombardier, Embraer from
Brazil and Russia's Superjet could also secure orders for the
smaller airliners they produce along with engine makers GE
Aviation and Rolls-Royce.
Jahangirian said out of Iran's 250 commercial planes, about
150 were flying while the rest are "not functional" due to a
lack of spare parts.
"We have got very positive signals from Western companies,
including Boeing Co. and General Electric Co. (GE) about getting
new spare parts for our planes," he said.
The current, preliminary deal allows for the limited sale of
commercial plane parts and services to Iran, whose fleet
includes vintage Boeing and Airbus airliners.
GE has won U.S. Treasury approval to service 18 engines sold
to Iran in the late 1970s. They will be serviced at facilities
owned by GE or Germany's MTU Aero Engines, which is
licensed to do the work.
Iran's four largest carriers - Iran Air, Iran Aseman
Airlines, Mahan Air and Iran Air Tours - all have average fleet
ages above 22 years, Iranian media have reported.
They serve a market of 76 million people in a country whose
vast oil and gas reserves could help draw foreign companies once
sanctions are lifted.
President Hassan Rouhani was elected last year on a promise
to improve Iran's relations with the outside world. He has
invited Western companies to seize investment opportunities in
the Islamic state.
Tehran has also repeatedly said it was determined to reach a
comprehensive nuclear deal with major powers so it can develop
its battered economy.
Iran will resume negotiations with the United States,
Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia in Vienna on May 13
aimed at a long-term deal.
The American embassy seizure in Tehran in 1979 led to U.S.
sanctions on Iran, which have been broadened in the past decade
over Iran's perceived nuclear ambitions.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by Jason Neely)