Subsequent to the nuclear accord signed between Iran and world powers, the U.S. government has given both Boeing and Airbus the green light to sell aircraft to the Middle Eastern country. The nuclear accord saw the limiting of uranium enrichment in Iran in return for the lifting of a number of international sanctions, one of which being the purchase of aircraft. Since sanctions were put in place, hundreds of Iranians have died in crashes caused by poorly maintained or malfunctioning aircraft.
With a population of 80 million, there is a tremendous market for new planes to replace the aging fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, as well as other miscellaneous aircraft currently in operation, listed in total at 162 in June. The remainder of the 250 overall listed commercial aircraft are currently grounded owing to a lack of spare parts.
The go-ahead from the U.S. government allows Boeing to firm up on June’s Memorandum of Understanding to sell 80 aircraft to Iran Air at a list price of US$17.6 billion, with deliveries beginning as soon as 2017, while 29 new 737s will also be leased to the carrier.
The deal with the U.S. manufacturer has evoked criticism come from American lawmakers who see much of Iran’s behavior as “pernicious”, including the launching of ballistic missiles, and the firing of rockets in close proximity to U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz. The Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has made it clear that if elected, he would likely tear up the nuclear deal.
Where Airbus is concerned, though not a U.S. company, for their deals to proceed approval of the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control is required as over 10% of their planes is manufactured in the U.S. The manufacturer has sought two licenses to sell A320s and A330s to Iran to expedite delivery of the first aircraft. The license announced this Wednesday is for the sale of a combined total of 17 A320s and A330s which, at list price, would mean a deal worth in excess of US$1.8 billion.
In January, Iran Air signed an agreement with Airbus to purchase 118 planes at an estimated cost of US$25 billion, however it was reported last Sunday on state TV that the number was being cut to 112.
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