Airbus has delivered an A330 to Iran Air, which landed at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport on Saturday. The delivery has come following a sanctions deal signed between the European group and the Iranian flag carrier in December 2016.
As part of the agreement, Iran Air purchased 100 planes from the European consortium, which the latter promised to deliver. The latest plane that landed in Tehran is the third of the 100 planes promised by Airbus. The first one was a small A321 plane delivered in January while the second one was yet another A330 that reached Iran in March.
The latest aircraft, however, is not a brand new product. The Airbus aircraft was manufactured three years ago. The European company delivered it to Avianca in 2014, but it wasn’t used. The same was the case with the previous Iran Air A321 aircraft delivered in January.
A flight that took off from Toulouse, France, delivered the A330 jet in Tehran. It is where the headquarters of Airbus is located. Iran Air Managing Director Farhad Parvaresh attended the ceremony to cherish the remarkable moment for the national flag carrier. The new A330 has 32 business class as well as 206 economy class seats available for passengers.
Iran Air and Airbus signed the sanctions deal worth $18 billion. The 100 new planes as promised included 46 A320 aircraft, 38 A330 aircraft, and 16 A350 aircraft. In addition to the European group, Iran also signed an agreement with the United States in the same year.
Under the deal, the Iranian flag carrier purchased 80 new planes from Boeing, an American aviation company. Out of those 80, Iran opted for 50 aircraft from the 737 family and 30 aircraft from the 777 family. Moreover, Iran Air is also in talks with European manufacturer ATR to crack a deal for 20 turboprop aircraft, Reuters reported. ATR is jointly owned by Italian firm Leonardo Finmeccanica and Europe’s Airbus.
The struggle of Iran Air to gather so many jet planes has come after the emergence of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It was a nuclear deal signed on July 14, 2015. The agreement put restrictions on Iranian aviation industry. It was signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
The members included the United States, France, Russia, Britain, and China. Germany also joined the list. The deal imposed a limit on Iran as far as its nuclear activities were concerned. One of the factors that led to the imposing of the limits was the removal of nuclear bans against the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic along with the six above-mentioned nations began implementing the JCPOA from January 16, 2016.
Iran Air deal with Airbus is remarkable as Iran has not bought any Western-built plane for almost 40 years. However, the nation only purchased one Airbus aircraft in 1988 to replace a jet shot down by the U.S. Navy. Whether it is an agreement of aircraft purchase with Boeing or Airbus, Iran is only trying to stabilize its deteriorating fleet resources.
It was before the 1979 Islamic Revolution when Iran sold almost 250 commercial planes. It was observed that only two-thirds of those planes were into service in 2016. It was so because of the shortage of spare parts.
The now Iran Air A330 jet is speculated to follow London Heathrow (LHR) route. However, there have been no confirmed reports on this yet. The Airbus purchase can fly from 30 minutes short to 15 hours on a long-haul journey. However, it has been found that the aircraft can take off or land at a spot every 20 seconds on an average worldwide.
[Featured Image by Yuli Seperi/Getty Images]