D espite international sanctions that prevent Iranian airlines from purchasing new aircraft, Iran has launched a new private airline.

A ceremony was held on Friday to inaugurate Yazd Air, the country’s newest carrier.

With a fleet of five aircraft, the airline has already conducted its maiden flight with a British Aerospace 146 (BAe 146) aircraft. More than $20 million were reportedly invested in its launch, Simple Flying wrote.

From Tehran to Yazd

Iran’s senior government officials for the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism attended the ceremony to inaugurate the new airline.

As the name indicates, the carrier will be based in the historical city of Yazd, located in central Iran. Its debut flight flew from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran to Yazd’s Shahid Sadouqi Airport.

According to Press TV, Yazd Air will use two Airbus A310s for flights to international destinations, which will include Najaf in Iraq, Dubai, Istanbul and Mumbai. The fleet also includes two Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets and one short-haul BAe 146 for flights on domestic routes.

IRNA reported that 10 trillion rials ($22 million) were invested by private investors for the airline’s launch.

Yazd Air will reportedly rely on Mahan Air, Iran’s second-largest airline, for administrative services in the first two months of operation. After that period and following the recruitment of around 70 staff members, the carrier will set up its own offices.

Mohammad Reza Dashti, the head of the Majlis Tourism Committee, said Yazd Air has major expansion plans to become one of the most reliable airlines in Iran.

Longtime Sanctions

The carrier’s launch comes despite Iran’s aviation industry experiencing a longtime series of unprecedented sanctions imposed by the US.

Following the Iranian Revolution and the US Embassy hostage crisis in the 1970s, the country has been under international sanctions.

The penalties were also extended during the war between Iran and Iraq, preventing Iranian airlines from purchasing new aircraft, which increased the difficulty of acquiring aircraft parts for older airplanes.

The country has been desperate for new aircraft in recent years. Last year, Iran’s civil aviation authority purchased former Turkish Airlines Airbus A340s. A spokesman confirmed on Dec. 29 that four aircraft had been purchased for use by one of Iran’s airlines — details on how the administration avoided the longtime sanctions were not shared.

Slim Aircraft Sales

Before the country welcomed the ex-Turkish aircraft, there was a period in which restrictions were eased slightly. This allowed the country to purchase a few modern Airbus aircraft and Iran Air to receive the delivery of five aircraft from the Franco-Italian aerospace company ATR.

But in 2018, the US reimposed the sanctions, which forced aviation manufacturers to cancel more than $30 billion in aircraft sales to Iran.

Due to the restrictions, Iran has some of the oldest aircraft flying. Many carriers operate the Airbus A300, which was last developed 15 years ago. Iran Airtour Airlines, for example, has an A300-600 that is more than three decades old.

As officials hope Yazd Air will become one of Iran’s most reliable airlines, the current sanctions will likely make it a lengthy process or provide challenges for the carrier to acquire aircraft to accompany its current fleet.

Source » financialtribune