Domestic Economy

Reinventing the Region’s Aviation, Transit Industry

Reinventing the Region’s Aviation, Transit IndustryReinventing the Region’s Aviation, Transit Industry

The civil aviation industry in Iran is entering 2016 on a highly positive note with immense scale and scope for foreign companies and aircraft manufacturers, the minister of roads and urban development said Sunday.

“The world will soon witness the growth and development of Iran’s civil aviation industry. This expansion, among other things, will not only benefit Iranians, but also the peoples of many regional countries,” Abbas Akhoundi told the ‘Iran Aviation Summit 2016” in Tehran, wire services reported.

He hoped that with the lifting of sanctions and Iran’s return to normalcy with the outside world “the strategic status of our nation as the gateway” to countries far and wide would be restored.  

Iran’s renewal can and will mark the sustainability of civil aviation and produce a meaningful effect and balance in the region’s transit indsutry, he told the conferees.

He recalled that Iran has strived to keep its airspace “free and safe” and with the launching “new routes flights would be maximized.”We will add five new air routes” after the sanctions and restrictions end.

On the development plan for the Imam Khomeini International Airport, Akhundi said his ministry has plans to increase its capacity to 45 million passengers per year, an initiative that would “augment regional interaction and trade cooperation.”  

Giving a breakdown on the need for new aircraft, the minister reiterated that “Iran is need of 100 short-haul planes” while for long and medium distances it requires “400 airplanes.”

The summit is hosting 150 industrialists, experts and chiefs of aviation operators and suppliers from around the world, such as International Air Transport Association and International Civil Aviation Organization.

Iranian officials addressing the two-day event invited international investors to seize the opportunity for investing in different sectors of Iran’s aviation industry following the lifting of western sanctions.

“Due to pent-up demand following years of sanctions, Iran’s aviation market has good potential for investment in various sectors,” said CEO of Center for Asia-Pacific Aviation, co-organizer of the summit, at an opening address.

More than 85 major aircraft manufacturers from 35 countries, including Airbus Group SE, Canada’s Bombardier, Brazil’s Embraer and French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR as well as top Europe-based aircraft leasing companies, have attended the event. Boeing is absent due to visa problems.

Akhoundi said, “We guarantee all contracts signed in the aviation sector according to the international law.”

The event is the first major gathering of global businessmen in Tehran after the UN nuclear watchdog announced last Saturday that Iran has been living up to its promise to limit its nuclear program as part of the July nuclear accord it reached with world powers. The announcement marked the official end of anti-Iran nuclear sanctions.

Earlier, Akhoundi said Iran has reached a preliminary agreement with French planemaker Airbus to buy 114 aircraft.

Later on Saturday, in an interview with state television, he said President Hassan Rouhani will sign the contract with Airbus during his visit to France this week.

At the Sunday meeting, the minster also hinted that Iran is interested in negotiating with US planemaker Boeing.

Reuters quoted Deputy Transportation Minister Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan as saying that Iran is interested in buying over 100 aircraft from Boeing.

According to Chairperson of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization Ali Abedzadeh, Iran needs 500 airplanes within the next 10 years.

“There are currently 16 active domestic airlines operating with 250 planes with an average age of 20 years. Our plan is to reduce the fleet’s age to 12 years,” he told the gathering.

The official called for credit facilities to help the country buy or lease the much-needed aircraft, as the government is currently grappling with a tight budget.

Also addressing the summit, Farhad Parvaresh, the head of flag carrier Iran Air, said restrictions on the airline’s refueling in most European airports have been lifted.

Iran Air has gradually resumed refueling at airports in Western Europe following the lifting of sanctions. Iran Air flights originating out of Paris’ Orly Airport have been able to take on-board fuel at the airport as of January 19.