Iran gets its first widebody aircraft since easing of sanctions

Iran received its first widebody airplane since economic sanctions were lifted, manufacturer Airbus SE announced Friday.

Iran Air will receive Iran's first widebody commercial aircraft, an Airbus A330, on Saturday. It is the first long-haul plane to be delivered to Iran since the easing of economic sanctions. Photo courtesy of Press TV
Iran Air will receive Iran’s first widebody commercial aircraft, an Airbus A330, on Saturday. It is the first long-haul plane to be delivered to Iran since the easing of economic sanctions. Photo courtesy of Press TV

The European aircraft maker said it handed over an A330 plane, appropriate for long-haul flights, to national carrier Iran Air on Friday. A smaller plane, an Airbus A320 for use on shorter flights, arrived in Tehran in January. The deliveries are the start of a 100-aircraft order Iran placed with Airbus; rival Boeing Co. also received an order for 80 long- and-short range planes, with its first delivery scheduled for early 2018.

The easing of sanctions allowed Iran to begin replacing its aging fleet of commercial aircraft, regarded as among the world’s oldest. Most of Iran’s 250 commercial aircraft were purchased prior to 1979, and 162 are currently operational; the rest were grounded because of a parts shortage.

The Boeing and Airbus orders comprise deals valued at $34.5 billion at list prices, although the industry offers steep discounts for buyers in bulk. The contracts angered U.S. lawmakers opposed to the nuclear deal, which lifted economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for limitations on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The Airbus A330 is expected to travel from the Toulouse, France, manufacturing facility and arrive in Tehran on Saturday. Abbas Akhoundi, Iranian urban development minister, said a second A330 would arrive soon.

By Ed Adamczyk