Cash-flush Iran to buy 114 Airbus jets, may seek Boeings

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Iran has already begun its post-sanctions spending spree.

Flush with cash after implementation of the nuclear deal with world powers, the Teheran regime on Jan. 16 approved the purchase of 114 aircraft from Airbus.

The Iranian captain of an Airbus A380-800 holds an Iranian national flag after landing. Photographer: Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images
A pilot holds an Iranian national flag after landing.  /Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

And next on the shopping list may be Boeings.

“Airbus Group is ready to support Iranian civil and para-public transportation sector development in strict compliance with all international laws (U.S., EU and UN sanctions and embargoes),‎” a spokeswoman for Toulouse, France-based Airbus said in an e-mailed statement. Para-public transportation refers to helicopters used by police and border-control agencies.

The Airbus deal includes a mix of new and used jets from the A320 family and the out-of-production A340s, an Iranian official said, adding that the first deliveries are due as early as July.

Teheran also is considering purchasing the Boeing Co. 737 narrow-body jet to serve the domestic market and twin-aisle 777s for long-haul routes, the official said.

Iran plans to procure at least 581 planes over the next decade, up from an earlier estimate of 400, according to the state-run Mehr news agency.

“In theory, the economic fundamentals in Iran should support the ability to absorb 300 aircraft over the next five years, but it is another question as to whether that is feasible in practice,” Binit Somaia, South Asia director at researcher CAPA Center for Aviation, said in an e-mail.

“Such a rate of growth would place immense pressure on airport and airspace infrastructure as well as management and technical skills even in mature markets. But it will be particularly challenging for Iran as the aviation ecosystem will need to adapt to a generational leap forward in aircraft technology.”