Boeing foresees big business in Iran

Boeing sees a good opportunity for business in Iran, citing its “long history” in the country and saying it was awaiting a good-ahead from the US government to enter commercial talks with Iranian airlines. 

Iranian officials have said the country would need between 400-500 new aircraft worth at least $20 billion to renovate its aging fleet and that initial negotiations have begun with the likes of Boeing and Airbus.

But Boeing Vice Chairman Ray Conner said, “We’re still waiting on getting the go-ahead from our government to still even have those kinds of discussions.”

The US Treasury Department has granted a temporary permit to sell aircraft parts to Iran’s commercial airlines under an interim nuclear deal dating back to November 2013.

For full-fledged business, however, a landmark nuclear accord reached in July has to be implemented which would entail the removal of all sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

For the moment, the US government is sticking to its old hardline policy which has led to a number of aviation mishaps and the deaths of hundreds of Iranians.

In May, US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on two aviation companies for selling second-hand Airbus aircraft to Iran’s second carrier, Mahan Air.

An Iran Air Boeing 747 is shown taxiing at Frankfurt Airport on August 21, 1999.

Meanwhile, the flag carrier Iran Air is cooling its heels to replace its fleet of Boeing planes bought before the Islamic Revolution in 1979 when the Iranian shah was a close ally of the United States.

“We have a long history with Iran. We had a big presence there for a number of years,” Conner, also president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airlines, told reporters on a visit to the aircraft’s manufacturer’s offices in Renton, Washington.

Another official said he believed the Iranian carriers would go for Boeing aircraft when the purchase window opened because of the manufacturer’s “long-standing relationship with Iran as a customer”.

“We believe there will be a good opportunity for us there and we believe there will be a good opportunity our competitors, and I think they will be looking at buying from both of us,” said Marty Bentrott.

Boeing’s vice president for sales in Middle East, Russia and Central Asia was apparently referring to Airbus.

Mohammad Khodakarami, the caretaker director of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization (CAO), said last month the country could buy 80-90 planes per year from the two aviation manufacturers when all hurdles on the way of normal trade were removed.

By Press TV