Iran Air has inked in Paris a purchasing agreement with Airbus for 118 aircraft, including 12 A380s, marking the onset of a new era in Iran’s aviation market and providing Airbus a much needed customer for its Very Large Aircraft (VLA) program.
The agreement, subscribed by Mr Farhad Parvaresh, Iran Air Chairman and CEO, in presence of presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran and François Hollande of France, would be worth US$25 billion at list prices, and is to date the biggest order placed since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. It includes 45 single-aisle aircraft (21 A320ceo, 24 A320neo) and 73 widebodies (27 A330ceo, 18 A330-900, 16 A350-1000 and 12 A380-800).
“Today’s announcement is the start of re-establishing our civil aviation sector into the envy of the region and along with partners like Airbus we’ll ensure the highest world standards.” said Mr Farhad Parvaresh, Iran Air Chairman and CEO.
Besides the large aircraft order, the deal also includes a comprehensive cooperation agreement in which Airbus will play a role supporting the modernization of air traffic control services, airport operations and aircraft maintenance, regulatory harmonization and technical and academic training and industrial cooperation.
“Today is a significant step in the overhaul and modernization of Iran’s commercial aviation sector and Airbus stands ready to play its role in supporting it,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO.
Due to economic sanctions imposed against Iran over the past decades, the country’s flag carrier was unable to expand its service and update its fleet, which currently has an average age of 26.8 years, according to Airfleets.net. The deal announced today is one of the first results of the lifting of international sanctions after Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program.
The sale of a dozen new A380s represents a major victory for Airbus, which has gained a new customer in almost three years after the last order placed by Emirates at the 2013 Dubai Air Show. Since then, the Very Large Aircraft experienced two order cancellations from Japanese carrier Skymark and Russia’s Transaero, plus deferrals from Air Austral and Virgin Atlantic, and a drought of orders which raised concerns over the future of the program.