By Gregory Polek - AINonline
Iran Air has taken delivery of the first of 100 new Airbus airliners on order, an A321, during a handover ceremony in Toulouse attended by Iran Air chairman and CEO Farhad Parvaresh, Airbus COO Fabrice Bregier and Airbus CEO Tom Enders. The order, placed in December, covers 46 A320 family jets, 38 A330s and 16 A350 XWBs.
“This significant milestone marks the first practical step in Iran Air’s ambitious passenger aircraft fleet renewal and its stronger presence in international civil aviation,” said Parvaresh. “Today signals that with international collaboration and cooperation, we can achieve mutually beneficial commercial goals.”
“Clearly in a country of 80 million people, there is a need for the latest passenger aircraft to meet domestic as well as international demand,” added Bregier.
Airbus forecasts that Iran will require some 400 to 500 new aircraft to modernize and expand its existing passenger fleet to catch up with years of pent-up demand on domestic and international routes.
The delivery comes just nine days ahead of the inauguration of a U.S. presidential administration openly critical of the nuclear settlement with Iran that allowed for the resumption of sales of civil aircraft to the Islamic Republic. Although the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) granted licenses for the deal in September and November, as required for any export of aircraft possessing more than 10 percent U.S.technology content, questions surrounding political environment and its potential effect on the deal remain as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office on January 20. The Iran Air A321 is powered by CFM Leap-1A turbofans produced by the joint venture between GE Aviation of the U.S. and France's Safran.
In fact, Republican politicians in the U.S. Congress have pledged to block a separate deal between Boeing and Iran Air calling for delivery of fifty 737 Max 8s, fifteen 777-300ERs and fifteen 777-9s valued at $16.6 billion at list prices.
Nevertheless, Airbus stresses that it coordinated closely with regulators in the EU, U.S. and elsewhere to ensure understanding and full compliance with the nuclear settlement with Iran, or Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPA). “Airbus will continue to act in full compliance with the conditions of the U.S. government Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) licences,” it said in a statement.