by WorldTribune Staff, July 18, 2016
As Congress moved to block Boeing’s sale of planes to Iran, the Islamic Republic is shopping elsewhere for airliners and searching for any financiers willing to risk the restoration of sanctions.
Iranian airline executives visited the Farnborough Airshow in Britain last week for talks with potential sellers including Japan’s Mitsubishi, which is developing a new regional jet.
“Iran is planning to buy some 50 more airplanes of various types soon,” an Iranian official said.
Western banks are wary of backing the aircraft deals with Iran, fearing their money could be at risk if sanctions are restored.
The senior Iranian official said Italian and German banks had expressed interest in taking part, while aircraft industry sources say financiers in the UAE and China could play a role.
Iran’s planned purchase of some 200 airliners from Airbus and Boeing remains in limbo. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure earlier this month that could, if confirmed by the Senate and barring a presidential veto, block sales of Boeing and Airbus aircraft to Iran because they use a large number of U.S. components.
Meanwhile, questions linger over part of the $27 billion deal between Airbus and Iran, signed in January.
Iran is said to be leaning toward backing out of the purchase of 12 A380 superjumbos that were part of the provisional deal.
Airbus subsequently announced a cut in A380 production.
“Some Iranian critics of the deal argue that we don’t need big planes that will only be used by those traveling to America or similar destinations,” a senior Iranian official said.
“We will evaluate that part when the time comes … One solution is to buy around 50 other planes instead.”