A short Q&A with Iranian experts who offered these comments.
- As Iranian airlines look at fleet renewal – which is the bigger problem, capital access or aircraft access?
Yes they are and the main problem will be capital access
- Iran represents the biggest business opportunity in commercial aviation at present. Iran’s fleet needs are greater than what the market can supply. How does this problem get addressed? What do the aircraft suppliers (lessors and OEMs) have to do to meet the demand from Iranian airlines?
Iranian Airlines are planning to renew their fleet by using the lessors and OEM subject to financial condition available in market
- Are Iranian airlines willing to acquire second hand aircraft or is the focus on the newest aircraft?
Yes they are. It is estimated, that there will be a period of 5 years to transit from existing condition to operate newest aircraft (NEO or Next Gen). This process may be sped up if the foreign financial market would like to feed necessary budget accordingly.
- Do Iranian crews (flight and maintenance) require training updates to become current on the aircraft in service today? How will this be undertaken?
There are many valid contracts between Iranian airlines and training centers, however we shall upgrade Iranian training center in accordance EASA 147 requirements, but we will still need to use foreign training centers for pilot training. It will be huge need of demand then.
Let’s not get to excited about fleet renewal for the Iranian airlines.
First, this is not going to be an exclusive offer to either Boeing or Airbus. Instead of competing for sales on new build aircraft, the OEMs need to cooperate and coordinate which model gets delivered when, if that will ever happen. The deserts are full of good used aircraft of all models, some of these will be sold/leased up first while awaiting new builds. Iranian air and ground crews can gain valuable experience on going to used aircraft built in the 1990s and 2000s and use that as a stepping stone to get to today’s state of the art engines, avionics, and airframes.
Second, this “deal” is not etched in stone, yet. This is all tied to the Iranian “nuclear deal”, and there are indications Iran is already cheating. This “deal” could fall apart at any time. If contracts are signed and the deal falls apart, the OEMs would be left with various white tails completed or still in FAL. This is not only true for the airplane OEMs, but other industries that are also looking for a windfall.
So don’t count your chickens before they hatch.