IranAir took delivery of its first four ATR 72-600 aircraft today. The batch constitutes one fifth of IranAir’s total order of 20 aircraft. As previously reported, the national carrier plans to take delivery of five more aircraft throughout the year and the remaining eleven aircraft will arrive in Iran in 2018. The ATR order includes an option for 20 additional aircraft and ATR had reportedly, in April 2017, arranged to finance eight aircraft.
The four aircraft were handed over to IranAir’s CEO and Chairman Farhad Parvaresh today at a ceremony in Toulouse and the departure of the delivery flights to Tehran are scheduled for this evening. All four aircraft will depart Toulouse periodically after each other within a one-hour interval. After a fuel stop in Athens, the aircraft are set to arrive at Tehran-Mehrabad Airport in the early morning hours (CEST) on Wednesday, 17 May 2017.
The aircraft registrations are as following; EP-ITA, EP-ITB, EP-ITC and EP-ITD. They will according to traditions operate their inaugural flight from Tehran to Mashhad when put in service.
IranAir has already taken delivery of one Airbus A321 and two Airbus A330s. With the addition of four new ATR 72-600s, the airline has so far received seven aircraft this year. In March 2017, IranAir’s CEO announced plans to take delivery of four Airbus A320s in 2017 and five Airbus A321s in 2018. By the end of 2017, IranAir should have taken delivery of a total of seven Airbus and nine ATR aircraft.
There are still historical moments in aviation, and this is one of them. We are proud and gratified that our ATR aircraft are providing the solution to Iran’s significant needs in regional connectivity. As Iran’s travelling public gains access to increased supply of air transportation, it will benefit from the highest standards of comfort, efficiency and reliability with the ATR’s we are delivering today and over the coming months. We salute Iran Air for their choice in our favour and the tremendous role they play in their country, ATR’s Chief Executive Officer Christian Scherer said.
“Currently, 80% of Iran’s total air traffic is handled by only 9 out of the country’s 60 airports. Accordingly, one of the most important tasks is
to set up a short-haul fleet aimed at expanding people’s access to air services, increasing regional traffic”, Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi previously said. The new short-haul aircraft, with a 70-seat capacity, has the potential to boost Iran’s regional air connectivity and revive smaller airports. Kermanshah, Hamedan and Arak are among the cities that have been proposed to become IranAir’s new ATR bases. It will enable IranAir, and the airports, to expand the route network with new domestic routes. In addition to domestic routes, the new ATR fleet is capable of operating regional flights to neighbouring countries, where routes such as Tabriz – Baku and Lar – Doha are considered.
Our new fleet of ATR 72-600s showcases our will to provide newest generation aircraft to our customers, therefore ensuring comfort, reliability and competitiveness. Strengthening the links between all our communities will encourage new business opportunities for everyone, IranAir’s CEO and Chairman Farhad Parvaresh said.
Earlier this week, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Road and Urban Development Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan, said that nine financial institutions from Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Britain, China and Japan have expressed their readiness to help to fund IranAir’s aircraft orders. An announcement regarding this matter is expected in June 2017. Last week, he was also quoted by media as saying that Britain’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), had informed that it was ready to provide funding for IranAir’s orders.
Before the ATR order’s finalisation, IranAir announced the contract’s long delay due to a row with Pratt & Whitney Canada, the supplier of the ATR engines. The Canadian manufacturer did not agree to guarantee services and spare parts after sales to IranAir. After three weeks of negotiations in Iran, the company did not change its mind. As a result, IranAir halted the negotiations and called on ATR to pressure Pratt & Whitney Canada to come to the negotiation table. ATR has till this very moment not been able to convince the Canadians. After Pratt & Whitney Canada’s reluctance, IranAir notified ATR its intent to opt-out from the agreement. ATR then suggested to IranAir that it would offer the ultimate service, acting as a direct supplier for spare parts and other maintenance services. IranAir challenged ATR on how it could secure the necessary licences and after a confirmation, IranAir agreed to the terms making ATR responsible for after sales services. Now, two months later the deliveries have started and the agreement is followed with the mentioned special conditions.
In late-April 2017, Iran’s Vice President for Science and Technology disclosed that they are negotiating with Airbus and ATR regarding the production of aircraft parts in Iran.