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Minister: Iran’s talks with Airbus continue

Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi (2nd R) visits Paris in June 2015.

Iran’s talks with leading plane manufacturers continue for purchase of new airliners, Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi says, after President Hassan Rouhani postponed his visit to Europe.   

“Our visit to Europe was cancelled but negotiations and other work for purchase of planes are still underway,” Akhoundi said on Sunday.

“We are negotiating with first-class aircraft suppliers for sourcing the airplanes which we need,” he added.

On Saturday, Rouhani put off what would have been the first visit to Europe by an Iranian president in a decade after attacks in Paris.

The Iranian president was due to start his visit in Rome where he planned to meet Pope Francis and Italian leaders before travelling to France.

Rouhani had said that Iran would probably sign agreement protocols to buy Airbus aircraft during his visit.

"Usually when conditions are right our buyers will buy from one or the other and probably it will be Airbus," Rouhani said, according to a transcript of an interview with broadcaster France 2 and Europe 1 radio.

The president said negotiations had been held between Iranian and French sides in the areas of transport, agriculture and also in the industrial field, especially in the auto sector.

Akhoundi has already said Iran was talking to both Airbus and Boeing to acquire aircraft under lease or sale/leaseback deals by 2020.  

Iran will need to buy 500 commercial jets of various models at a cost of $50 billion, he said.

“Since there is no such money in existence in Iran, we have to go after the leaseback method,” the Tasnim news agency quoted him as saying last week.

“If we try to buy new aircraft, we will need 400 jets to develop our long- and medium-haul fleet and at least 100 planes for use in our local airports which will cost $50 billion with a rule of thumb,” Akhoundi said.

According to Akhoundi, Iran’s civil aviation fleet consists of 248 aircraft with an average age of 20 years, of which 100 are in storage.

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