News ID: 214867
Published: 0212 GMT May 11, 2018

Iran aims to buy Airbus jets before sanctions window closes: Official

Iran aims to buy Airbus jets before sanctions window closes: Official

Iran is in contact with European planemaker Airbus to try to use a narrow window available for business following this week’s US decision to withdraw from an international nuclear pact, said a senior official.

“We are in contact with Airbus and they are exploring all possibilities that might exist to take advantage of the limited time in front of us,” said Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan, senior advisor to Iran’s Roads and Urban Development Minister.

“It all depends on European government support and policies,” he told Reuters by telephone.

Iran also hopes to import more Franco-Italian ATR turboprops but there are some “technical issues”, he added. ATR is a joint venture between Airbus and Italian group Leonardo.

Airbus said it had no immediate comment on the matter.

Fakhrieh-Kashan was quoted earlier as saying Airbus would announce whether it would sell planes to Tehran after the United States - which must approve the export of planes with a significant number of US parts - said it would withdraw from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran.

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier this week that there would be “wind-down” periods of 90 to 180 days, and perhaps other durations, for existing Iranian contracts with companies, following President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran deal.

Iran Air, the national flag carrier, had ordered 200 passenger aircraft, with 100 from Airbus, 80 from Boeing and 20 from ATR. All the deals are dependent on US license because of the heavy use of American parts in the planes.

Iran has so far imported only about 11 aircraft, three from Airbus and eight from Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR.

“During the talks with Airbus and Boeing we did not consider any possibility of such exit from the deal and it was not mentioned in the contracts,” Fakhrieh-Kashan said.

Other Iranian airlines had also made provisional plane orders, but had yet to sign firm contracts.

Industry sources say Airbus is resigned to losing Iran’s business for the time being, but will carefully consider its options before cancelling it from its official order book, as doing so could tip it into negative net orders - orders minus cancellations - for the year.

Fakhrieh-Kashan raised the prospect that some deliveries could, however, still go ahead in a 90- to 180-day window allowed for winding down current business under the new US sanctions framework.

Under the nuclear deal, Iran modifies its nuclear program in return for lifting most international non-nuclear sanctions imposed on the country.

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