Boeing expects U.S. to issue license to sell jets to Iran soon

The logo of Boeing (BA) is seen in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Boeing Co BA.N said on Wednesday it expected to receive a U.S. license to sell jetliners to Iran soon, after Airbus AIR.PA confirmed earlier in the day that it had been licensed for similar sales by the Treasury Department.

“We understand that the U.S. government has issued Airbus a license to sell aircraft to Iran,” Chicago-based Boeing said in a statement. “We believe their license application was submitted prior to our similar request and that the government follows a ‘first in, first out’ policy. We look forward to receiving our license from the government shortly.”

Sales to Iran would provide an important boost to the order books of Boeing and Airbus during a year when sales have slowed. Iran has said it needs 400 planes to rebuild its commercial aircraft fleet after decades of isolation.

Boeing and Airbus have reached provisional agreements to sell more than 100 jetliners each to Iran’s national airline, a pair of deals valued at more than $50 billion at list prices. The sales follow a landmark agreement on Iran’s nuclear program last year.

Airbus Group shares were up 0.74 percent at 52.86 euros. Boeing shares were up 0.9 percent at $128.96.

The sales still face obstacles from bankers, who are cautious because U.S. banks remain barred from doing business with Iran.

Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao