The withdrawal of the US from the JCOPA has added pressure to anyone doing business with Iran. This is pressure is being felt by the aerospace industry. Iran has been in discussions with Airbus and ATR about accelerating deliveries before the 180 day period ends.
The pressure is on at Airbus where there are orders for 100 aircraft from Iran. The 80 orders Boeing has are in the freezer. Airbus America’s president Jeff Knittel has signaled the deal with Iran is not going to be quickly solved within 180 days. There is also some concern how ATR can deliver the remaining aircraft on order.
The following table lists the Iranian airline fleet as of the end of last year.
Here’s another way to look a the fleet, by adding age and focusing on the in-service aircraft. The age profile is indicative of the challenge Iran faces – it needs those aircraft ordered to update the fleet. Iran’s airlines have been creative in securing the aircraft and spares they acquired during the previous sanctions period. But there are limits even the Iranians cannot overcome with aging aircraft and safety.
However, when sanctions were eased and the country got a large cash injection. The Iranian government did not make this cash available to its airlines, using the funds elsewhere, as was its right. Iran’s airlines were left to seek financing from the OEMs. Under normal circumstances that should have worked. But the US banking system still had limits in doing business with Iran. No Iranian airline deal was going to be worth fines and being cut off from the US banking system.
This was the moment the Iranian government should have stepped in with the cash it had received. An Iranian contact with a private airline shared that they were concerned the state airlines were more likely to have funding support. Private Iranian airlines were going to depend far more on OEM and export financing than state-owned Iran Air.
What does the relatively short window mean? It certainly means much more haste on the part of the Iranians. The focus is on Airbus, as one would expect. Airbus also has an interest in getting things done in short order. But there are limits. Airbus’ production is accounted for. Its customers want their aircraft and one has to wonder how many would be willing to see their deliveries juggled at short notice? Even if Iran could secure a few more deliveries within the 180 days, there is the issue of spares after the window closes.
Airbus was able to deliver the A330s to Iran Air from a storage facility in short order last year. It is likely that the Iranians will go shopping there again now. Teruel Airport in Spain and Tarbes Lourdes (the same link applies) in France are likely to be busy with visitors.
Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.