Russian officials say the country is negotiating with Iran over the local production of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ 100) airliner to replace the ageing Iranian fleet on regional routes.
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin says Moscow may deliver a large batch of SSJ 100 planes – described as the country’s most modern commercial jets – to Iran before 2020.
Rogozin told the Russian media that the batch could comprise about 100 planes.
The planes can be in part be localized by Iranian producers if Tehran makes the political decision to purchase ready-made aircraft, he told Rossiya 24 TV during a two-day trip to Iran.
"Last night, one of the largest Iranian airlines held negotiations with UAC on the possible delivery of ready planes within five years. Different digits have been mentioned and I can mention them too - approximately 100 planes," Rogozin added.
Iran has a shortage of modern aircraft due to the long running sanctions imposed by the West. Local airlines are looking for reliable regional jets to fly domestic routes. The SSJ 100 might be a match for Iran’s needs, with additional options to come along with the prospective deal, RT reported on its website.
"If Tehran agrees to purchase the Superjet, we will discuss partial localization of production in Iran," RT has quoted Rogozin as telling Russia’s TASS news agency.
Sukhoi Superjet 100 is Russia’s newest twin-engine regional passenger aircraft which began operating commercially in 2011. More than 60 aircraft are in service with airlines in Laos, Mexico, and Russia.
Last month, France-KLM's CityJet signed a deal with Sukhoi to purchase 15 SSJ 100 planes worth over $1 billion. Sukhoi has also sold three SSJ 100s to Thailand and one to Kazakhstan.
According to Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhundi, Iran will need to buy 400 long- and medium-haul jets and at least 100 planes for use in local airports at a cost of $50 billion.
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