Iran receives five new planes before sanctions bite

Iran receives five new planes before sanctions bite
2 min read
05 August, 2018
Flag carrier IranAir said it had taken delivery of the jets, as plane makers battle to salvage deals ahead of new US sanctions.
Iran's flag carrier IranAir announced the delivery of ATR planes on Sunday [File photo: Getty]
Iran has taken delivery of five ATR turboprop aircraft, amid a state of limbo surrounding plane deals since US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear pact and reinstated sanctions.

Iran's flag carrier IranAir said in a posting on its Telegram channel on Sunday that all five new ATR 72-600 planes landed in the northwestern city of Urmia for refuelling and would then fly on to Tehran.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran ordered 200 jets from Western planemakers, including 20 from French manufacturer ATR, but few have been delivered.

After ditching the deal in May, Washington gave most companies until 7 August to complete ongoing business with Iran before new sanctions came into effect.

However, some planemakers say they were unable to use the wind-down period before sanctions because Washington revoked export licences needed by planemakers due to their heavy use of US parts. 

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ATR - co-owned by Airbus and Italy's Leonardo - has delivered eight planes to Iran under the deal, and been lobbying the US Treasury to grant it temporary licences to deliver the next 12 it is building.

It said it will suffer financial damage if it cannot deliver the aircraft and is looking for alternative buyers, according to Reuters.

Airbus said last month it would not attempt to deliver any more planes to Iran in the wind-down period. It has delivered just three of 100 ordered by IranAir. Meanwhile, Boeing has sold 80 jets to IranAir. 

Iran has suffered multiple aviation disasters in part due to its ageing fleet, most recently in 2014 when 39 people were killed when a Sepahan Airlines plane crashed just after take-off from Tehran, narrowly avoiding many more deaths when it plummeted near a busy market.

Lifting sanctions on aviation purchases was a key clause in the nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers in 2015.