Two Iranian airlines have signed deals to buy 40 passenger planes from Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company, amid slow progress with orders of western-built aircraft.
Aseman Airlines has agreed to buy 20 of the Sukhoi SuperJet 100 planes while Iran Air Tours, a subsidiary of national carrier Iran Air, has also ordered 20 of the planes. With an average list price of $50.5m each, the orders have a total value of just over $2bn.
The managing directors of the two Iranian carriers signed memorandums of understanding with Sukhoi at the 2018 Eurasia Airshow at Antalya International Airport in Turkey on April 25, in the presence of Russia’s deputy minister of industry and trade Oleg Bocharov.
The SuperJet is a 100-seat regional aircraft designed and built by Sukhoi in partnership with Italy’s Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacch. The first flight by the plane was conducted in May 2008. The latest version has an operating range of just over 4,500km, placing much of Europe, north and east Africa and south and central Asia within range of flights from Tehran.
The signing of the memorandums suggest that a recent marketing push by the Russian firm was a success. A Sukhoi Superjet 100 visited Tehran’s Mehrabad International airport in February in an attempt by the company to secure orders for its jet.
According to Iranian media reports, Iran Air Tours is expecting to take delivery of the first planes from Russia “within a year”.
The financing arrangements behind the deals with Aseman and Iran Air Tours have not been revealed. However, it is likely to prove easier to arrange terms with the Russian company than it has been with Airbus or Boeing – something which appears to be behind the delays in deliveries from the western firms. Moscow has recently begun discussions with Iran and Turkey to encourage more trade using local currencies rather than US dollars – to date the talks have focused on oil sales, but it is possible it could be extended into other areas.
Iranian airlines have placed orders for several hundred new planes since most international sanctions on the country were lifted in early 2016. The most active buyer has been Iran Air, which has ordered 118 planes from Airbus, 80 from Boeing and 20 from European turboprop maker ATR. In April last year, Aseman has also ordered 30 Boeing 737 Max jets.
Together these deals represent several tens of billions of dollars’ worth of aircraft. However, relatively few have been delivered, with just a handful of Airbus and ATR planes arriving in Iran to date and no Boeing planes.
Eight more ATR turboprops are scheduled to be delivered this year, along with three more Airbus jets and three planes from Boeing, according to recent comments by former deputy roads and urban development minister Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan. However, he said the Boeing deliveries were “provided that we finance the purchases” and, similarly, the Airbus planes would only arrive “If we are able to make our payments”.
Source » forbes