Economy, Domestic Economy

17 Trainers Enter Air Fleet

17 Trainers Enter Air Fleet17 Trainers Enter Air Fleet

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization has announced the acquisition of 17 trainer aircraft by the private sector over the past Iranian year (ended March 20).

“The purchases include four Robinson R44 helicopters, a PA-34 Seneca, two PA-28 Cherokee and two Cessna 172 pipers along with eight Tecnam P92JS trainers,” Mehr News Agency quoted director general of CAO’s Engineering and Flight Operations Department, Majid Hassanlou, as saying.

Out of 206 light aircraft active in Iran’s fleet, 93 are trainer planes and helicopters, all of which operate in the aviation industry’s educational sector.

The purchased aircraft have an average age of five years, said the official, adding that the number of trainers has increased by 20 percent compared to a year before.

In the shadow of western sanctions on Iran’s aviation industry—imposed initially by the US after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and later intensified over Tehran’s nuclear program—Iran has in recent years considered purchasing used aircraft as a measure to bypass sanctions and reduce the age of its air fleet.

Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi on Monday noted that recent acquisitions have helped reduce the age of the domestic fleet by only two years.

“Unfair sanctions forced us to purchase secondhand planes. However, a fundamental renovation of the country’s air fleet is now inevitable.”

As talks between Tehran and world powers to end a longstanding nuclear dispute by a June 30 deadline have been showing signs of progress lately, Akhoundi visited Paris Air Show last week at the invitation of French officials and negotiated the purchase of new aircraft from the world’s giant plane manufacturers.

According to the minister, negotiations are underway to buy medium-range and ultra-long range commercial aircraft used in intercontinental flights, as well as short-range aircraft with less than 100 seats to increase the number of flights in the country’s small airports.

“Despite the restrictions on Iran’s economy, European companies have warmly welcomed our call for cooperation to rejuvenate Iran’s aviation industry as well as to develop roads, railroads and urban areas,” ISNA quoted the minister as saying.