Reports over the weekend suggest Iran is ready to sign for deals with Airbus for up to 114 aircraft. We have been looking at the Iranian market frequently (Aug 2015, Nov 2015, Dec 2015).
As we suggested in earlier stories, the A340 offers Iran the fastest way to achieve long haul capacity. The used market is soft for this aircraft. More crucially the issue that made the A340 less popular is its its fuel burn. And currently that issue is much less of a problem as fuel prices decline sharply. The following link shows why the A340 is looking so attractive for the Iranians.
The A320 will serve Iran well, just as it does other airlines and markets. The challenge here is for Airbus to be able to move new aircraft into Iran from its tight backlog. Of course, if or as customers slide deliveries to the right due to low fuel costs, this offers Airbus a chance to switch some deliveries to the Iranian market.
The relationship Airbus has with the Iranians is interesting. They moved very quickly – apparently much faster than Boeing or the smaller OEMs. A comment from one of our contacts in Iran may offer an insight into this: “I am sure Airbus has more room to improve it’s share in (the) Iranian market since they have never left (the) Iranian market, even during the worse conditions, while Boeing left us alone.” An intriguing comment. Of course, one doesn’t have to try and sell anything or do anything illegal to retain contact and maintain friendly relations, under the assumption that one day sanctions would end.
Meanwhile, if the Iranian market opens up anywhere close to its potential and it starts buying new aircraft, the OEMs are likely to have a robust 2016.