I know I should be catching up on all the hotel reviews and assorted posts I need to write, but interesting things keep crossing my path. And, since I’m the editor, we veer off path again….
Iran’s transport minister, Abbas Akhoundi, on the eve of the lifting of sanctions, told a semiofficial Iranian media outlet that the country had struck a deal with Airbus Group SE to acquire 114 planes once the trade restrictions were removed. The removal of sanctions would unfreeze tens of billions of dollars in Iranian oil revenue.
I’ll admit, I’m a bit baffled by those numbers. The largest airline, Iran Air, only has roughly 40 planes in their fleet right now. Almost half their fleet is the Fokker 100, a plane I have fond memories of flying many years ago. Since that plane hasn’t even been manufactured since 1997, it’s a pretty good bet those planes are nearing the end of their useful life. But, it’s a definitely a short-haul aircraft with a range between 1,300 and 1,700 miles.
Maybe they plan on ordering long-haul aircraft to connect Iranians living abroad. Central Europe and North America have enough folks of Iranian descent that those flights might make sense in a post-sanction era. Getting to Berlin is just over 2,000 miles from Tehran, so not really long-haul. But, cities like New York (6,000 miles) and Chicago (~7,000 miles) would definitely require different planes to make those routes work for Iran Air.
The FAA will also need to certify that those airlines operate safely enough to fly to the US, and Homeland Security will need to be comfortable enough with airport security in Iran for passengers arriving in the US.
A lot of variables to consider, and the nation only has a population of about 80 million (versus 1.2 billion for India). That makes conversations about the potential of an Iranian carrier acquiring an A380 seem absurd to me. I’ve learned not to doubt the impossible, but I’ll be surprised if 114 new planes are delivered to Iranian carriers over any reasonable timeframe.