Iran’s state airline Iranair says it is talking with US plane maker Boeing about buying a large number of aircraft.
Iranair’s chairman Farhad Parvaresh told Reuters the order could be close in size to the 118 Airbus jets it has agreed to buy.
The Airbus deal however is conditional on the granting of US export licences because those planes contain so many US-built parts.
In addition financing issues remain for Iranair and the banks that would lend it money to buy the planes after the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran imposed over its nuclear programme.
Parvaresh said “a lot of issues” needed to be clarified in talks between Airbus and Washington over export licences for European planes under last year’s nuclear deal. But he added: “We are very hopeful and optimistic that the licences will be released in the near future.”
Any Boeing purchase would also require additional permits as well as export licences.
Iran is dangling the prospect of significant business for Western planemakers as it emerges from decades of sanctions.
The country has a fleet of 250 aircraft, of which 90 are grounded due to the economy or missing parts, Parvaresh said.
Of that total, 80 percent will need to be renewed in the next decade, he said, adding that growth could add even more jets to Iran’s shopping list.
“In the next 10 years, we need at least 250-300 aircraft or even more if everything is going well,” Parvaresh said.