Iran May Use Russia’s Sukhoi to Modernise Its Air Fleet

Undated photo of a Sukhoi-100 passenger plane

The chairwoman and CEO of Iran’s flagship carrier Iran Air says the company will negotiate with any supplier, including the Russian Sukhoi, that can sell aircraft and plane parts to Iran without an OFAC licence.

Fazaneh Sharafbafi said Iran Air has a strategic plan for the next three years in the face of the US sanctions on Iran’s aviation industry, and welcomes any party that can fulfil its needs.

She noted that negotiations have been held to buy the Sukhoi Superjet 100, or planes produced by other non-European countries.

“If these companies can sell aircraft without the need to obtain a licence from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and be willing to negotiate, we will consider purchasing aircraft from them.”

The US withdrawal from a nuclear accord with Iran slammed shut what had been a brief opening for historic aircraft sales by Boeing and Airbus to the Islamic Republic.

In 2016, the two companies signed deals worth a combined $39 billion with various Iranian airlines to help upgrade the country’s aging fleet.

Airbus signed a $19 billion deal with Iran Air for 100 planes in late 2016. However, with Donald Trump’s unilateral decision the European company is now banned from doing business with Iran.

On the other hand, Boeing also missed out on a considerable opportunity. Boeing had signed two deals with Iranian carriers, a $17 billion contract with Iran Air and another $3 billion deal with Aseman Airlines.

With the new round of US sanctions on Iran, to take effect on November 5, all these plane manufacturers will be banned from doing business with Iran, putting millions of lives in danger given the country’s old fleet.

   
   

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