Aviation & Airports
Iran’s Transportation Minister Mohammad Eslami announced that his country will receive three new passenger planes in the near future despite the fact that the US unilateral sanctions are barring foreign companies and entities from selling anything related to civil aviation to Tehran.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Eslami announced that three new airbus planes will be delivered to the country in the very near future amid sanctions that have made it difficult for the airlines to renovate their fleet.
The minister did not elaborate on details of the deliveries, weather the planes were new and which airline would get hold of them.
Local media said that the planes will be delivered to flag carrier Homa, known internationally as IranAir.
There was no confirmation from the company, neither was there any other report suggesting that the airline prepared to get the deliveries in the near future.
However, a Friday report by another local source said that Iran’s Kish Airlines had leased three Airbus planes from a foreign country and that the deliveries were due.
The delivery of the three new Airbus planes to Iran comes amid tight sanctions imposed by the United States which have effectively barred the country from buying new aircraft.
The sanctions, enacted in November last year, even caused Airbus to stop the planned delivery of planes ordered by Iran in 2016.
Airbus has delivered only three of a total of 112 planes ordered by Homa. Two more deliveries planned for late 2018 did not happen.
Homa has also ordered 80 planes from American plane-maker Boeing and 20 more from Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR.
The ATR sent 11 aircraft to Iran before the US imposed bans on sale of commercial planes to Iran last year while Boeing has made no deliveries at all.
Iranian officials say the government has paid no down payment for future deliveries of the planes ordered in 2016.
On Saturday, a senior official at Iran Airports and Air Navigation Company (IAC) Ahmad Momeni Rokh said that Shiraz Electronics, a subsidiary of Iran’s IEI Corporations, had been commissioned last month to produce distance measuring equipment (DME), a high-tech aviation device used in the airports for which Iran normally relied on Western suppliers.
Ahmad Momeni Rokh said Iran would become the first country in the region to manufacture the DMEs, saying the device would seriously improve the approach control services in the Iranian airports at a time the country’s aviation industry is supposed to suffer from sanctions imposed by the United States.
Momeni Rokh said Iran is increasingly using local companies and start-ups to produce complex devices used in the airports and to offset the impacts of the American sanctions on air transport.
He said sanctions had in fact led to a boom in domestic production of sensitive and modern devices used in the aviation industry.
Among major equipment commissioned by the IAC to the Iranian companies, he said, were MSSR radars, friction testers, and recorders used across the air traffic control systems.
He said a local company had managed to carry out a successful reverse engineering on friction testers, devices that are exclusively manufactured in Western Europe where companies normally refrain from engaging in deals with Iran due to the US sanctions.
On MSSR radar, a modern system used to substantially increase the safety of the flights, he said Iran would get the delivery of a first batch of domestically-produced radars in late 2021.
The official said that Isfahan University of Technology and IAC were finalizing an agreement for production of MSSR/Mode S radars.
Last Monday, Head of Iran Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) Ali Abedzadeh stressed ineffectiveness of the US sanctions in barring Tehran from renovating its civil air fleet.
"Purchase of airplanes continues and the sanctions have failed to stop this trend," Abedzadeh told reporters in Tehran.
In October, Iran’s Deputy Transportation Minister Shahram Adamnejad announced that the country’s largest airline IranAir has posted an operating profit for the last local calendar year ending on March 20, 2019, highlighting that the achievement was made despite all US sanctions against the country’s aviation industry.
Late in September, Iranian officials announced that the country has already completed sophisticated maintenance checks for two of its 2-year-old ATR airplanes, adding that domestic companies will finish the job by March 2020 despite US sanctions against Tehran’s aviation industry.
National carrier IranAir (Homa) said that complicated airworthiness checks for a second ATR turboprop had already finished in a hangar of the company in Tehran, recounting the details for a maintenance program for all 13 aircraft delivered by the ATR company two years ago.
Early in July, Director General of Iran Air Touraj Zangeneh said that his company has achieved self-sufficiency in repairing and maintaining its fleet, despite the US unilateral sanctions which have cut the flag-carrier’s access to parts and technical supports from original makers.
"In the past, all checks of Iran Air were conducted by foreign technicians, but currently the process from the first to the last phases of the planes maintenance is being done by Iranian experts," Zangeneh said, at the ceremony to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the downing of Iranian passenger plane by a US Navy guided-missile cruiser in the Persian Gulf waters.
The enemies of Iran, particularly the US, aimed to deprive Iran's airlines of refurbishing the air fleet by sanctions, but the Iranian experts not only foiled the plot intelligently, but also they decisively advanced the industry, the head of Iran Air said.
"Iranian airlines have always been targeted by the US sanctions and attacks since the year 1980, beginning with not allowing the Iranian Boeing 747 to land at New York airport," he said.
The approach went on with targeting Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf by the warship USS Vincennes in 1988, he noted.
The more regrettable move by the US was that Washington did not condemn the inhumane tragedy, and instead awarded the commander of the warship a medal of valor, the official said.