Aircraft Fleet

Expert Says Iran’s Passenger Aircraft Fleet Operating At Less Than Half-Capacity

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More than half of Iran’s fleet of passenger aircraft has been grounded due to aging and a lack of spare parts and engines, an aviation expert has told Iranian media.

The semiofficial ISNA news agency quoted Omid Khansari as saying that only “about 120 to 130 planes are active” out of a total of some 340 aircraft owned by Iranian airlines while the remainder “are grounded and in need of spare parts.”

U.S. sanctions imposed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution have hindered Tehran’s ability to modernize the fleet with new planes and repair the older ones due to a lack of spare parts.

Some of the planes — including U.S.-made Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas jets as well as EU-made Airbus planes — are well past their retirement dates.

Following the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, U.S. sanctions were lifted and Iranian airlines placed orders for more than 300 planes, including modern airliners from Boeing and Airbus.

However, only three Airbus planes and 11 turboprop ATR aircraft were delivered to Iran before the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions.

Tehran’s subsequent efforts to acquire Chinese passenger aircraft that contain U.S. technology bore no result due to Beijing’s refusal to violate the sanctions. Reported attempts to purchase Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet planes apparently proved futile, too.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL’s Radio Farda

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