Economy, Business And Markets

Air Show Offers Opportunity to Main Players

Air Show Offers  Opportunity to Main Players
Air Show Offers  Opportunity to Main Players

Iran International Air Show 2014 has invited two key members of the United States Senate for the global event, which is set to be held on the Persian Gulf island of Kish, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

“Senators Maria Cantwell and Kelly Ayotte, chairwoman and ranking member of Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security are receiving invitations to visit Iran this November, Roozbeh Aliabadi, international adviser to the air show told Financial Tribune.

According to the advisor, the potential visits will have nothing to do with the political atmosphere surrounding Tehran and Washington, as the two senators are solely expected “to understand the environment in the Iranian aviation sector.”

The air show represents a potential opportunity for both Iranian airlines and the international aviation industry. Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, Bombardier, AVIC and other international aircraft manufacturers are also receiving invitations to the air show, now presented with the prospect of selling much needed aircraft to Iran.

Makers of avionics and maintenance equipment can, too, seize upon this opportunity, while simultaneously helping to shore up the safety record of Iranian air carriers and improve the experience of thousands of people who depend upon it every day.

“Although the language of sanctions relief is not entirely precise, it could also lead to new market prospects for makers of airport facilities equipment. Upgrades to air traffic control systems would help improve efficiency, reduce congestion, and lower the risk of accidents in Iranian airspace, while new security systems would help mitigate threats to international civil aviation,” Aliabadi said in a letter he emailed to Financial Tribune.

“A complete reversal of economic sanctions against Iran, in the short-term, may be a distant possibility, but we believe these selective openings can simultaneously offer new market opportunities for western firms while improving the lives of ordinary Iranians,” he noted.

Since the 1979 revolution in Iran, US-led sanctions have denied Iran’s access to new technology and the spare parts needed to update and maintain its fleet of western aircraft.

The lack of parts has been a persistent challenge in the past 35 years for Iran Air’s engineers and technicians. Sanctions have also limited other Iranian aircraft operators from obtaining modern technology, including avionics equipment and the parts needed for the regular maintenance of their commercial aircraft.

Despite sanctions, Iranian engineers have made progresses in recent years in designing and manufacturing commercial airplanes in cooperation with countries like Russia and Ukraine, though aviation officials admit that they still need major parts to be imported from western nations.

This situation, however, is beginning to change. Nuclear talks between the United States and its allies with Iran have so far eased sanctions on some specific industries, which notably include civil aviation. International aerospace companies, which were once barred from selling even the most basic parts to Iranian carriers and airports, will now be allowed to do so.

Iran’s aviation market needs at least 30 new aircraft immediately, as estimated by the director of Alireza Jahangirian, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization. The country may also need to purchase 40 new aircraft each year for the next ten years in order to fully meet the demand.  

The 7th Iran International Airs Show is set to be held on November 18-21, but the conference side will open on November 17 with keynote speeches and discussions on the potential for investment in Iran’s aviation sector.

The organizer will also hold a series of plenary sessions, panel discussions and private meetings over the course of the event for interested participants.