Iran Air to buy four more Airbus A-330 jets in 2001
Iran Air, the country's flagship airline, will buy an additional four Airbus A-330 jets in 2001, the official IRNA news agency quoted the company's managing director said Thursday. The company purchased four A-330 jets last year, IRNA said.
Ahmad-Reza Kazemi presented the purchase of the new Airbus jets as part of Iran Air's drive to modernize and be considered one of the world's top airlines. Kazemi said that Iran Air's international flights have risen by 21 percent this year.
Iran Air's fleet currently consists largely of old Boeing 747s bought before the Islamic revolution in 1979. Tense relations between US and Iran have made it difficult to maintain the planes. Four of the 747s are currently being repaired in France and Germany.
"The renewal of our civil aviation fleet is indispensable," Behzad Mazaheri, the director of Iran's National Aviation Organization, was quoted as saying in the Hamshahri newspaper. Mazaheri put the value of the eight Airbus purchases at "$720 million to be paid in credit over the long term." At present, Iran Air boasts a fleet of 30 active jets.
Further in Iranian sky, the prototype of the first airliner to be built in Iran will fly on February 11 next year—anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani was quoted as saying last week.
The 52-seater Iran-140 aircraft is a joint venture with Ukraine, with parts being made by both countries. It will have a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) and a ceiling of 8,700 meters (29,000 feet).
National carrier Iran Air's current fleet comprises mainly elderly US-made Boeings, which suffer from maintenance problems since Washington and Tehran broke relations in 1980. — (AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)