An Airbus A321 bearing the logo of Iran Air on January 11, 2017 at the Airbus delivery center, in Colomiers southwestern France. Iran Air reached a deal with Airbus last december to purchase 100 aircraft. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region--The first passenger aircraft bought from Europe-based Airbus is expected to land in Iran on Thursday. The plane is the first such purchase in Iran in nearly four decades following the country’s nuclear deal last year.
Airbus delivered the A321 aircraft to Iran Air on Wednesday in a ceremony in Toulouse, France. The purchase of the plane is part of a deal reached in December for 100 aircrafts.
“Iran Air is delighted with this first Airbus delivery and congratulates everyone involved who made it possible,” said Farhad Parvaresh, Iran Air Chairman and CEO. “Today signals that with international collaboration and co-operation, we can achieve mutually beneficial commercial goals.”
The deal includes 46 A320 family, 38 A330 family, and 16 A350 XWB aircraft.
Decades of sanctions on Iran following a souring of relations between the Islamic Republic and the United States and western nations after the 1979 Iranian revolution barred Iran from buying Western-built airliners, despite rising demand for air travel from a young and growing population.
The US and its Western allies lifted sanctions on Iran early last year, following a nuclear deal with Tehran, technically known as JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action).
Airbus said that the agreement follows the implementations of the JCPOA.
Airbus had not sold Iran any aircraft since the country’s Islamic revolution, except for a replacement of an Airbus aircraft shot down by the US navy in the late 1980s.
Airlines in Iran have been operating for decades on ageing fleets of Boeing and Airbus airliners, plus some Russian planes bought or leased since the revolution.
Iran Air also reached a final agreement with Boeing in early December to purchase 80 aircraft, with approval from the US government.
Parvaresh said the national carrier signed a deal for 50 Boeing 737s and 30 777 airliners, worth $16.6 billion.
The Boeing planes will be delivered over a 10-year period, Parvaresh said.
Iranian Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi said that Iran’s civil aviation fleet of 248 aircraft has an average age of 20 years, with some 100 aging aircraft in storage because they are no longer airworthy.