Iran Air Airbus A310
An Iran Air A310 airbus Photograph by Hady Khandani—ullstein bild via Getty Images

Iran’s Leaders Are Buying Less Airbus Jets than Expected

Sep 19, 2016

Iran has reduced the number of planes it plans to buy from Airbus by six units following delays in U.S. regulatory approvals needed to import the jets, an Iranian official told Reuters.

Iran announced plans in January to buy 118 jets worth $27 billion at list prices from the European plane maker but has voiced concern at the amount of time it is taking to receive U.S. export licenses, which are required to complete the deal due to the large number of U.S. parts in the Airbus jets.

The country's deputy transport minister told a conference on Monday that there were signs the U.S. would release licenses by the end of this month. But speaking at the same event on Tuesday, he stepped up criticism of what Iran sees as improper delays in unblocking the nine-month-old deal, which is part of a landmark diplomatic pact between Tehran and world powers to lift most Western sanctions in exchange for limits on Iran's nuclear activities.

"There are six fewer aircraft. These are the ones that were due to be delivered in 2016," the Iranian official told Reuters, speaking on the sidelines of the CAPA Iran Aviation Finance Summit.

The deal to be finalized in coming weeks could therefore be for 112 aircraft instead of 118, he said.

On paper, these include 12 A380 superjumbos but Iran has not yet decided whether to take the double-decker jets, and has an option to convert them to smaller models, he said.

Reuters first reported in June that Iran was having second thoughts about taking the world's largest passenger plane partly for political reasons.

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