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Economy

Iran to buy 100+ Airbuses as sanctions end

media The deal is to be signed when Iran's President Hassan Rouhanis is in Paris next Wednesday, ministers say Reuters/President.ir

Iran's national airline is to sign a deal to buy 114 planes from European planemaker Airbus during President Hassan Rouhani's visit to France this week, Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi said on Sunday. Another company, Kish Air, is discussing buying six planes from the Toulouse-based company. Planemakers sales are set to lift off thanks to the end of Western sanctions against the Islamic republic, which says it needs as many as 500 new planes.

Only 150 of the country's 250 planes are operational, due to shortages of parts because of European and US sanctions, which were lifted last week, Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi said at an aviation industry conference in Tehran on Sunday.

Iran Air and Airbus will sign the agreement on the sale of 114 planes while Rouhani is in Paris on Wednesday, part of a trip to Europe that will also take him to Italy.

The new planes would arrive in Iran by 19 March, Akhoundi told Iranian state media.Airbus has declined to comment.

Only nine of Iran's 67 airports are operational and the country has suffered several air crashes in recent years as its fleet has aged and parts have been become scarce.

That means it may need 500 planes over the next three years, Mahdi Hashemi, the president of the parliamentary development committee told Reuters news agency at the conference.

Tehran wants to buy 100 planes from Airbus's US rival Boeing, Akhoundi said.

Kish Air's CEO Sadat Akhavi told Reuters that it is discussing six A321s and hopes to buy 10 eventually.

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