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Iran’s Aseman Airlines Agrees to Lease Seven Airbus Jets

Iran’s Aseman Airlines Agrees  to Lease Seven Airbus JetsIran’s Aseman Airlines Agrees  to Lease Seven Airbus Jets

Iran’s Aseman Airlines has agreed to lease seven Airbus jets, Reuters quoted two aviation industry sources as saying on Thursday, scotching earlier reports that Iran had agreed to buy the aircraft directly from the European manufacturer.

Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Minister Ali Rabiei was quoted as saying by ISNA that Iran, which is negotiating through state flag carrier Iran Air, had agreed with Airbus to buy seven aircraft. The report fueled French media speculation that a keenly awaited deal between Iran Air and Airbus for more than 100 aircraft had been watered down significantly.

But industry sources said the two deals were not connected and identified regional carrier Aseman Airlines as the company behind the much smaller deal to procure seven aircraft, which Rabiei said would start arriving in May.

Those jets will be leased rather than purchased directly from Airbus, the sources said, without identifying the leasing company.

Aseman Airlines could not be reached for comment.

Last week, the European Union banned Iran’s Aseman Airlines from operating within the EU because of safety concerns, but the airline said afterwards that it does not fly to the EU.

Owned by Iran’s civil service pension foundation but managed as a private company, Aseman is Iran’s third-largest airline by active fleet size, according to the CAPA consultancy.

Meanwhile, a delegation from Airbus is in Tehran for talks to finalize a deal for about 100 planes.

Iran has been seeking to renew its aging aircraft fleet since the lifting of international economic sanctions in January under a nuclear deal reached with six major powers.

On Thursday, Airbus denied having finalized a deal with Iran Air but indirectly confirmed that another carrier had agreed to acquire seven aircraft via a third party.

“Airbus has not finalized any contract so far with Iran Air and the agreement for seven airplanes that has been reported is not directly with Airbus,” a spokesman said.

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