Boeing eyes Iranian market in wake of nuclear negotiations
Western imposed sanctions have barred Iran from buying western aircraft since the 1970s. Iran Air Boeing 747S Gilland. (Wikimedia Commons)
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“We’ve done a pretty good assessment on our side and we think the demand, should things open up, would be very strong,” Martin Bentrott, Boeing vice president of sales in Middle East, Russia, and Central Asia, told a United Arab Emirates newspaper on Monday.
Iran’s assessment of its own aviation requirements was accurate, he added.
The head of Iran’s aviation organization, Ali Reza Jahangirian, recently said that in order to renovate its aging airliner fleet, Iran needs to buy up to 500 passenger planes in the next 10 years.
“There are still sanctions in place in regards to our ability, the reality is our inability, to market and sell our aircraft to Iran. We are hopeful through the negotiation process that perhaps after the end of June maybe things will change, if there’s an agreement,” said Bentrott, who manages the sales of all Boeing commercial airplanes and services.
Western imposed sanctions have barred Iran from buying western aircraft since the 1970s.
“We still have a license approved by the US government to provide safety of flying and documentation to help the airlines in Iran,” he said.
The US Treasury Department granted Boeing a license to sells spare parts for commercial aircraft to Iran in April 2014, as negotiations between Iran and P5+1 group of world powers progress, the license has been extended and is currently valid to the end of the month.
However, he noted the Iranian market has so far generated a “relatively small” amount of revenue. “We have not done a significant amount of spare part business.”
In the past decade, Iran has witnessed several major air accidents blamed on its aging aircraft due to the US sanctions that prevent Iran from buying aircraft spare parts.
Iran and the P5+1 group of countries -- the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China plus Germany -- reached a mutual understanding on Tehran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Lausanne on April 2.
The two sides held expert-level talks in Vienna, Austria, on April 24. The three-day talks were held in a bid to draft the text of a final agreement based on the mutual understanding reached in Lausanne.
Iran and the six-party group have agreed to finalize a comprehensive deal on Tehran’s nuclear program by the end of June.
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