Iran denies sourcing Russian airliners

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) has denied reports that the country planned to furnish its fleet with passenger planes from Russia after the removal of sanctions. 

The rebuttal came after a Moscow-based news agency quoted CAO caretaker Mohammad Khodakarami as saying that Iran wanted to purchase Russian airliners and sought negotiations with the country’s aircraft manufacturers for delivery of spare parts and other equipment.

“Iranian airlines will carefully examine all options for the country’s new aviation fleet purchases and definitely will not restrict their choices to a single country or aircraft manufacturing company,” the CAO said in a statement.

“Given the annulment of the sanctions, a very vast market lies before the Iranian airlines for purchase of aircraft. Hence, the Civil Aviation Organization is in negotiations with the world’s big plane manufacturers in an effort to pave the way for imports of the aircraft which it needs in its fleet,” it added.

On Thursday, Minister of Transportation Abbas Akhoundi was quoted as saying that Iran was in talks with Airbus for the renovation of its aviation fleet.

The minister made the announcement after meeting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius who visited Tehran following Akhoundi’s trip to Paris to attend an air show in June.

“Airbus, as one of the European aviation companies, comprises about 50% of Iran’s aviation fleet and in this regard, we are in direct negotiations with the company to renovate our fleet,” Akhoundi said.

Earlier this month, Russian media quoted Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov as saying that his country was in talks to sell Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger planes to Iran but Iranian officials have not commented on the claim.

With the last remaining hurdle to normal business with Iran all but removed, major aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus have indicated intention to sell planes to Tehran.

Iranian officials have said the county would need 400-500 civilian aircraft worth at least $20 billion in the next decade to renovate its aging fleet which has suffered under years of US and European sanctions.

By Press TV