‘Iran not interested in Russian passenger planes’

Tehran, Jan 3 (IANS) Despite Russia’s readiness to meet Iran’s needs for new passenger planes, Iran’s airlines are not interested in buying Russian planes, Press TV reported on Saturday quoting an Iranian aviation official as saying.

No Iranian airliner has submitted any request to Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation (CAO) over purchasing planes from Russia, deputy director of CAO Mohammad Khodakarami told reporters, replying to the question of the possibility of purchasing planes from Russian Sukhoi and Tupolev by Iranian airliners.

Khodakarami’s remarks followed those of Sergei Dementiev, the General Director of the Russian commercial and transport aircraft manufacturer Aviastar-SP, that his company is interested in signing deals with Iran to provide the country with advanced Tu-204CM aircraft.

Earlier, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin also said that Moscow was ready to deliver a large batch of SSJ 100 Sukhoi planes, as the country’s most modern commercial jets, to Iran before 2020.

The average age of Iran’s aviation fleet stands at 22 years, and Iran needs to purchase new planes, Khodakarami said, reiterating that however, there is no interest in Iran for the Russian planes.

It was announced here in November that Iran continued talks with the leading French Airbus company to buy passenger planes and Tehran would order Airbus aircraft during President Hassan Rouhani’ s upcoming state visit to Paris.

The deal with the Airbus will be possibly signed thanks to the July nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers to settle Tehran’s controversial nuclear issue, which will also lead to the removal of major Western sanctions against the country.

Iran has seen several air disasters involving both civil and military aircraft in recent years.

Experts said the US-imposed sanctions against Iran, which prevented its allies from selling aircraft or aircraft parts to the country, have undermined safety standards within Iran’s civil and military aviation fleet with the likelihood of further air disasters.

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