Post-nuclear fleet: Rolls Royce roll into Iran

Post-nuclear fleet: Rolls Royce roll into Iran
2 min read
18 February, 2017
The UK engine manufacturer is in negotiations with Iran's Aseman Airlines to supply 100 aircraft engines to the state-owned carrier as Western companies flock to the country.
Iran is seeking to update its fleet after the dropping of nuclear-related sanctions [AFP]

Iranian aviation company Aseman Airlines has entered into an agreement with Rolls Royce to purchase up to 100 aircraft engines according to a statement from the country's ministry of urban development on Friday. 

Aseman is set to purchase 100 Tay-650 "Fokker" engines from Rolls Royce, and enter into agreements with the UK manufacturer concerning the provision of spare parts.

Rolls Royce Tay engines of which there are four derivatives (the 611, 620, 650, and 6510) are used in Gulfstream, Fokker-100, and some Boeing 727 aircraft.

It marks a major shift for Iranian airliners, who have suffered under years of sanctions when companies struggled to get new aircraft or spare parts making travel by air dangerous.

A nuclear deal with world powers, including the US, has seen Western companies flock to oil-rich Iran.

Aseman is also in talks with German aviator TUI over the lease of three Boeing 738 aircraft for a period of three years, and has already entered into an agreement with Lufthansa concerning the maintenance of aircraft in its existing fleet. 

Following the dropping of sanctions on Iran in September 2016 the US Treasury granted Airbus and Boeing licences to deliver planes to Tehran with Iranian claims that nine planes were set to be delivered before the end of the current Persian calendar year on 21 March next year.

Iran has also entered into agreements with Lufthansa over the provision of aircraft for its country's carriers. In total plans to purchase over 200 aircraft are said to be in place and are set to cost billions of dollars.

However, Tehran is wary in particular that the White House's approach to the nuclear deal could change as a result of Donald Trump's rise to office. During his election campaign, Trump proved a vociferous critic of the nuclear deal describing its terms in March this year Trump as "catastrophic".

But in signs that Tehran is pushing on with purchases to help modernise its outdated air travel infrastructure on Friday the country's ministry of urban development also stated on its website that it had entered into the final stages of negotiations with French companies Thales Group - concerning the purchase radar equipment worth $11 million and airport developments.

Additional talks, said the ministry, were also ongoing with Dutch airport consultancy firm NACO over the modernisation and development of Tehran's airport.