Boeing pens huge deal to modernise Iranian air fleet

In a statement issued Sunday, Boeing said that it "coordinated closely" with the US government throughout the process leading up to the sale and that it continues to follow all license requirements as it moves toward implementation of the sales agreement.

Boeing Co. clinched a deal to sell 80 jetliners to Iran, completing the first major agreement between a US company and the Islamic Republic, just as the political winds are changing, The Wall Street Journal reports.

According to Iran's transport minister Abbas Akhoundi, the deal was "the first step for the renovation of the country's aviation fleet", and would soon be followed by concluding talks with Airbus.

The deal covers 50 single-aisle 737 Max 8s, a soon-to-be-introduced version of Boeing's existing narrow-body 737 line.

The lack of new planes and parts has taken a severe toll on Iran's carriers over the years, earning it one of the worst safety records in the world with close to 1,700 people dying in a string of civilian and military air disasters since 1979, according to the Flight Safety Foundation. In fact, the U.S. House of Representatives in November voted 234 to 174 for a bill prohibiting any U.S. transaction connected with the export of passenger airplanes to Iran.

However, president-elect Donald Trump has been a critic of the Iran nuclear deal.

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The pact keeps Boeing in the race with Europe's Airbus, which in January agreed to sell 118 aircraft to Iran in a deal valued at about $25 billion at list price.

The first planes are set for delivery in 2018. This would be Iran's biggest contract for plans since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

"Today's agreement will support tens of thousands of USA jobs directly associated with production and delivery of the 777-300ERs and almost 100,000 U.S. jobs in the United States aerospace value stream for the full course of deliveries", the company said in a statement.

The deal with Boeing would help Iran expand and modernize its old commercial aircraft fleet. By contrast, the 777 orders are very important for Boeing as it confronts a slump in wide-body demand.

"Boeing's actions to aid the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism through the sale of these jets are disappointing to say the least".

  • Ronnie Bowen