Iran's parliament gave the green light Monday, January 29, for state-owned Asseman Airlines to borrow $400 million abroad for the purchase of new aircraft for its ageing fleet, parliamentary sources said.
Approval of the loan for Asseman, the number-two airline behind state carrier Iran Air, came as MPs continue their line-by-line evaluation of the budget for the next Iranian year which begins in March. There was no immediate word on what the company, which currently has a fleet of around a dozen aircraft, was interested in buying or who would provide the loan, which sources said would be repaid in seven to 10 years.
Iran Air announced in early December that Iran would buy an additional four A-330 jets from European maker Airbus in 2001, in addition to four ordered last year. The total value of the deal is estimated at 720 million dollars. Airbus earlier Monday reported record sales of $17.2 billion (18.59 billion euros) and delivery of 311 airliners for 2000, accounting for 40 percent of the global market.
Unilateral US sanctions bar Iran from buying new aircraft from US manufacturer Boeing. Most of the 30 aircraft in Iran Air's fleet are ageing Boeings purchased before the 1979 Islamic revolution which are now suffering from lack of maintenance because of the embargo. Industries Minister Gholamreza Shafei said last month that Iran Air alone would need $7 billion to purchase new planes and refurbish its old ones. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )