Economy, Domestic Economy

Jobs Overcome Politics in Boeing Sales to Iran

Boeing says the Iran Air deal supports some 100,000 jobs, directly at Boeing and through  its supply chain.Boeing says the Iran Air deal supports some 100,000 jobs, directly at Boeing and through  its supply chain.

Iran Air could take delivery of at least one new Boeing 777 aircraft in the next few weeks–the first new aircraft it will have received from the US company in decades.

In December 2016, Boeing announced a $16.6 billion deal to sell 80 aircraft to Iran Air, including 50 of the 737 MAX 8s, 15 777-300ERs and 15 777-9s. The first deliveries were not due to be made until 2018. However, IRNA reported that the first two 777 models will arrive sooner than that, after Turkish Airlines decided not to go ahead with a purchase.

“Iran Air is currently studying the plane’s specifications,” said Deputy Roads and Urban Development Minister Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan.

“If the plane’s options agree with the needs and preferences of Iran Air, it will be delivered within a month; in case we require additional options in the plane’s interior such as the galley or the number of seats, the delivery will be postponed by another month.”

Two Republican politicians, Representative Peter J. Roskam and Senator Marco Rubio, have called on Donald Trump to block any aircraft sales to Iran, in a letter they sent to the president on April 10.

“We urge you to suspend current and future licenses for aircraft sales to commercial Iranian airlines until your administration conducts a comprehensive review of their role in supporting Iran’s illicit activity,” they wrote.

However, any move to block the sales and deliveries would undermine one of Trump’s key pledges on the campaign trail and since, namely to protect US jobs, according to an article published in the website of American business magazine Forbes.

During a visit to a Boeing facility in South Carolina in February, Trump told an audience, “We are going to fight for every last American job.”

Boeing says the Iran Air deal supports some 100,000 jobs, directly at Boeing and through its supply chain.

The aircraft maker recently signed another deal to supply 30 737 aircraft to Iran’s Aseman Airlines, worth $3 billion at list prices, with deliveries to start from 2022. Boeing has cited US Department of Commerce figures that suggest the Aseman deal would create or sustain some 18,000 jobs.

If the US government were to block such deals, it would leave the way open for other providers to pick up the slack. Boeing’s main rival is Europe’s Airbus, which has already delivered the first three of 100 aircraft it is selling to Iran; they were reportedly also planes that had been cancelled by their original buyers.

Iran also finalized a deal with French-Italian plane-maker ATR on April 10 to buy 20 of its ATR 72-600 models–the first four planes are due to arrive later this month.

And Iran has shown interest in purchasing up to 100 of the Russian-built medium-haul Sukhoi SS100 passenger planes, according to statements by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

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