Lufthansa arm eyes services center in Iran

Lufthansa Technik, the maintenance division of the German flagship carrier, says it is in discussions with Iranian airlines to repair and overhaul their aging fleet.

A top company executive has said the world’s leading provider of services in the aviation industry was open to setting up a facility in Iran.

“There’s an aircraft fleet in Iran that needs to be taken care of to bring it up in the air,” a Dubai-based newspaper quoted Lufthansa Technik Chief Executive Johannes Bussmann as saying at the Dubai Airshow.

Despite the discussions, there are currently no set plans to open a facility, he added.

“We are open to it. If the government or airline wants support in the build-up phase, we will do that. If they want a partner to join them, then we can think about that,” Bussmann said.

Years of US-led sanctions have left many aircraft in Iran’s aviation inventory accumulating dust in the absence of spare parts. Iran has kept its active aircraft in service through parts imported, cannibalized from other planes or reproduced locally.

Fleet overhaul 

According to Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhundi, Iran’s civil aviation fleet consists of 248 aircraft with an average age of 20 years, of which 100 are in storage.

Officials say as many as 70 planes can return to service if they get their supply of vintage parts, providing also a boon to plane manufacturers, salvage firms and parts suppliers.

Under sanctions, Iran has kept its aircraft in service through parts imported, cannibalized from other planes or reproduced locally.

In August, German aircraft engine maker MTU Aero Engines said it was in talks with several Iranian airlines for supplying maintenance services.

Western governments must allow sales of plane parts to Iran under a preliminary nuclear deal signed in November 2013.

However, Boeing’s cooperation with Iran Air under an agreement reached in 2014 has not gone beyond sale of aircraft manuals, drawings and navigation charts as well as data to the Iranian flagship carrier.

New airplanes

Iranian airlines are also weighing purchases of new brand aircraft. Bussmann said he saw a strong potential for Iran’s aviation sector to grow further in the coming years.

“Iran has a big population and it definitely needs hundreds of aircraft for transport. I’m very sure that there will be strong growth for aviation with all the players in the supply chain,” he said.

Akhundi has said the country would need to buy 500 commercial jets of various models at a cost of $50 billion.

“Since there is no such money in existence in Iran, we have to go after the hire purchase method,” the Tasnim news agency quoted him as saying last week.

“If we try to buy new aircraft, we will need 400 jets to develop our long- and medium-haul fleet and at least 100 planes for use in our local airports which will cost $50 billion with a rule of thumb,” Akhundi said.

By Press TV