International Business

Iran has finalised an agreement with Airbus to acquire 100 jetliners, the first of which is tentatively expected to be delivered in mid-January, a senior official said on 19 Dec. The deal, split roughly equally between narrow-body and wide-body aircraft, will be signed in coming days, Deputy Roads and Urban Development Minister Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan told reporters.

Iran, which last week finalised a parallel deal with Boeing for 80 jets, has reached agreements with foreign leasing firms to finance a total of 77 aircraft, including 42 from Airbus and 35 from Boeing, Kashan said. “There will be at least two leasing companies,” he said. Iran is buying planes to rebuild the elderly fleet of flag carrier IranAir under an agreement with major powers that lifted most international sanctions in return for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities.

The timing of the first delivery suggests the Airbus A321 could arrive before the Jan 20 inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has voiced opposition to the nuclear deal, and well ahead of Iranian presidential elections in May.

Treasury has granted export licences to allow both deals to go ahead, a step required for both suppliers because of the heavy use of American parts in Boeing and Airbus jets.

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