IranAir officials and a delegation from US-based Boeing have agreed on an initial 80 passenger planes in the Iranian flag carrier’s headquarters in Tehran on December 11, according to AFP and Tasnim News Agency.
The long-awaited deal between the two sides is part of an overhaul of Iran’s ageing airlines and supporting infrastructure. Iran’s aviation sector had US sanctions against the purchase of new planes levied on all Iranian airlines since the 1980s, following the Iranian Revolution which ousted the Washington-supported Shah Reza Pahlavi.
The agreement between the two sees the ageing National Iranian airline receive 50 twinjet narrow-body Boeing 737s and 30 long-range wide-body 777 capable of reaching the US, at a total cost of $16.6bn.
The delivery of the landmark deal with occur over 10 years. The order is one of the largest Boeing has received in the past half decade.
Unlike its European counterpart Airbus, the American aerospace company was given the approval to sell parts and planes to Iran by the outgoing Obama administration.
Airbus previously signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IranAir for 100 aircraft, but the France-based plane builder only received permission to sell 18 planes to the Iranians from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control.
"With the signing of this contract, the first significant step has been taken for the modernisation of the country's aviation fleet," Iran’s transport minister Abbas Akhoundi was quoted by AFP as saying.
Boeing’s official press release on the deal said: “Today’s agreement will support tens of thousands of US jobs directly associated with the production of the 777-300ERs and nearly 100,000 US jobs in the US aerospace value stream for the full course of deliveries.”
The first plane delivered will be in 2018, unless Boeing can persuade other airlines to let IranAir push ahead in the queue.
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