Touch down: First new plane lands in post-sanctions Iran

Touch down: First new plane lands in post-sanctions Iran
The first Western-built passenger aircraft to be bought by post-sanctions Iran following last year's historic nuclear deal touched down in Tehran on Thursday.
2 min read
12 January, 2017
The new airbus touched down at Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran on Thursday [Getty]

The first passenger aircraft bought by post-sanctions Iran in almost four decades landed in Tehran on Thursday.

The Airbus A321 was delivered to Iran Air on Wednesday in a ceremony in Toulouse, France, as part of a deal reached in December for 100 aircrafts from the Europe-based company.

"Iran Air is delighted with this first Airbus delivery and congratulates everyone involved who made it possible," said Farhad Parvaresh, Iran Air chairman and CEO.

"Today signals that with international collaboration and co-operation, we can achieve mutually beneficial commercial goals."

Due to nuclear-linked sanctions, IranAir flies one of the world's oldest fleets and has had to rely on smuggled or improvised parts to keep them operational.

The one exception was the sale of a plane to replace an Airbus jet shot down by the US Navy in 1988.

Iran, which has not directly purchased a Western-built plane in nearly 40 years, has ordered 100 airliners from Airbus, 80 from Boeing and 20 turboprop aircraft from Toulouse-based ATR.

The Airbus deal was initially valued at $25 billion (22.4 billion euros) but Iranian officials say it is worth nearer $10 billion.

Iranian Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi said that Iran's civil aviation fleet of 248 aircraft has an average age of 20 years, with some 100 ageing aircraft in storage because they are no longer airworthy.

The delivery comes just over a week before the inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump, who has criticised the historic nuclear deal.