DUBAI, DEC 26, (DNA) – Iran said on Sunday it had negotiated to pay only about half the announced price for 80 new Boeing airliners in an order that the American plane maker had said was worth $16.6 billion.
Boeing and its European rival Airbus have both signed huge contracts this month to supply airliners to Iran, the first such deals since international sanctions were lifted under a deal to kerb Tehran’s nuclear program.
Replacing Iran’s antiquated civil aviation fleet is one of the biggest economic opportunities of the 2015 accord to lift sanctions, which was negotiated by the outgoing administration of US President Barack Obama. President-elect Donald Trump is a vocal critic of the pact.
Despite Iran’s great need for new planes to replace those from the sanctions era, it has entered the market at a time when Boeing, Airbus and smaller plane makers have all faced a downturn in orders, and are therefore expected to offer deep discounts.
Boeing said this month it was cutting production of its 777 long-haul jet due to a drop in demand.
“Boeing has announced that its Iran Air contract is worth $16.6 billion. However, considering the nature of our order and its choice possibilities, the purchase contract for 80 Boeing aircraft is worth about 50 percent of that amount,” said Deputy Transport Minister Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan, quoted by Iran’s IRNA state news agency.
A Boeing spokesman in Dubai was not available to comment.
Airbus’s contract to sell 100 jets to Iran Air, signed on Thursday, would be worth $18-$20 billion at list prices, but the head of Iran Air has been quoted as saying the value of the contract would not exceed $10 billion.
The government of President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist, has pushed to finalise aircraft deals to show results from the nuclear accord with world power to end sanctions. He faces criticism at home from hardliners over the cost of the purchases.
Fakhrieh-Kashan also said on Sunday that Iran Air may exercise an option to buy 20 more aircraft from ATR, a European maker of regional turboprops, in addition to a planned firm order of 20. A team from the plane maker would arrive in Tehran next week for final talks.=DNA