Jan 29, 2016

Airbus ends A380 drought with Iran Air deal

Updated*  The not-quite-comprehensive ending of sanctions against Iran has also ended the Airbus A380 sales drought, with Iran Air signing for 12 of the biggest passenger

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Laden with cash, the Airbus fleet does the Tehran banking run
Laden with cash, the Airbus fleet does the Tehran banking run

Updated*  The not-quite-comprehensive ending of sanctions against Iran has also ended the Airbus A380 sales drought, with Iran Air signing for 12 of the biggest passenger jet flying.

However in the official announcements this is almost an afterthought, with the European consortium’s sales agreement including all of its offerings from the single aisle A320 family through to the about to arrive A330 NEO and similarly, the -1000 version of the A350 line.

Iran has struggled to maintain a fleet of older western and Russian jets through the prolonged period of UN mandated trade sanctions aimed at ending its nuclear weapons development program.

The jets signed for are 21  current A320 CEOs, 24 new engine tech A320 NEOs, 27 current model A330s,  18 A330-900 NEOs, 16 A350-1000s and 12 A380s.

Iran’s various airlines currently operate a combined 84 Airbus jetliners. In addition to those with Iran Air, the Iranian carriers are: ATA Airlines, Atrak Air, Iran Aseman Airlines, Mahan Air, Meraj Airlines, Qeshm Airlines, Taban Airline and Zagros Airlines.

Iran Air’s new fleet will have an effect on Emirates, which transfers some business, leisure and NGO traffic between Tehran and other Iranian centres and the world via its very large hub airport at Dubai.

But will that effect be compensated for by overall growth in the other traffic streams that flow through Dubai?

The re-fleeting of Iran Air and other Iranian carriers will not happen overnight, and substantial economic expansion is forecast in the middle east, central Asia and of course India, with strong passenger activity  to the UAE in its own right as well as to cities beyond.

If the Iran economy surges, this may well be about much more than a redistribution of current airline activity.

Update The All Nippon Airways order for three A380s was confirmed today. They will be delivered from 2019 and powered by Rolls-Royce engines.

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15 thoughts on “Airbus ends A380 drought with Iran Air deal

  1. George Glass

    It makes perfect sense that the only order airbus could get was from a command economy.

  2. Tango

    It will be interesting but I don’t see Iran taking on a fleet of A380s right now (frankly A330s would be the max and no idea what kind of traffic number they have. Can’t be much.

    State aviation regulatory structures are involved in bribes , nepotisms and favorites to certain parties. Not a good mix and If I was an Iranian and had a choice I would not fly any of them

    They will have to open up reciprocal routes so there will be some choice.

    They are talking about an incredible large fleet renewal and at least some lip service to buying the same number of US aircraft.

  3. ghostwhowalksnz

    George , just as well that Turnbull and Australia have rejected the TPPA, as we cant have anything to do with ‘command economy’ type decisions.
    As we know the ending of Australia’s ‘two airline’ policy with same fleets flying same schedules has ended up with ‘two airlines with much the same fleets flying much the same schedules’
    Only big difference is Iran has more continuity with its top leaders and isnt run like the pre war French 3rd republic.

  4. derrida derider

    Who knows – in a decade or two we could all be stopping over for fuel in Teheran rather than Dubai.

  5. George Glass

    Ghost,the more important fact is that they dont care whether it makes money or not.Politics overrides economics.

  6. patrick kilby

    George Airbus gets squillions of orders from all sorts of economies not least the US.

  7. johnb78

    I assume George was talking about the A380 order in particular, not the orders for Airbus’s other high-selling planes with long waiting lists, because claiming the latter was “the only they could get” would be stupid.

    There’ll certainly be a political aspect to the A380 part of the order; on the other hand, I’m sure they’ll be getting them at an enormous discount (and Iran Air ran five 747s up until last year, so this isn’t as ridiculous as, say, the Skymark order).

  8. patrick kilby

    John there are a lot of A380 operators that aren’t ‘command economies, unless he is such a free marketeer that Aust, France Germany, UK, Japan, Korea, are all command market economies!!!! I am sure a few in the US think so, but really!!!

  9. GeorgeD

    A lot of people forget that Iran is a large, middle-income country filled with cosmopolitan people. Notwithstanding its conservative government, it is the Germany of South Asia.

  10. Dan Dair

    George, Tango,
    Airbus have sold a range of aircraft to the Iranian national airline.
    They will presumably, be delivered over quite an extended period of time, rather than all next week.??

    I imagine that if Boeing still manufactured a competitive VLA, they would have been in the running for this particular order. (I’m assuming that the A380’s were the ‘icing-on-the-cake’ for this order.?)

    It’s a fact that the current Airbus range of aircraft is better than the current Boeing range.
    That doesn’t mean that I think Boeing make bad aircraft.
    Clearly, the B777 is an outstanding aircraft & has been so since it was introduced.
    Airbus is only now starting to challenge that particular market sector with their larger A350, 20 years after the B777 came into service.

    These things ebb & flow.
    When Boeing gets its act back together, Airbus fans will probably be the ones doing all the carping.!!

  11. caf

    Agree with George. According to the CIA’s figures, the Iranian economy is larger than ours.

  12. ghostwhowalksnz

    The big advantage for airlines flying to and around Australia is the 7.5 million tourist arrivals per year and the total international traffic for Oct 15 alone is 3 mill pax. Domestic passenger traffic for EACH MONTH is between 4.5 to 5 million.

    The figures I have seen for ALL traffic carried by Iran registered airlines in 2014 was about 15 mill ( it was 19 mill 5 years ago) while Australia is 67 million .
    I imagine major international airlines will fly to Tehran and pick up a lot of traffic and of course the vast connecting flights from gulf airports are only a short distance away. But I dont see Iran allowing unrestricted flights to the Gulf states.
    Hajj traffic total arriving in Saudi Arabia per year is only 1.5 mill but it is over a short period ( 1 month) and while direct flights have been stopped currently pilgrims can use other means.

  13. johnb78

    Patrick: the A380 makes a great deal of sense for fat, established routes between capacity-constrained airports. It’s an excellent aircraft for LHR-HKG, SYD-LAX, and so on, which is why private sector airlines like QF, BA and LH have a dozen or so each for their fattest routes. But it’s not an obvious choice of aircraft for an airline that currently barely has any long-haul routes, never mind running out of capacity on them.

  14. ghostwhowalksnz

    Tehran airport currently has about same total passengers as Adelaide, even though it serves a capital city of 8 mill and a country of 80 mill. ( Brisbane has 22 mill pax)

  15. patrick kilby

    I think the current president would like to restore Persia to its former glory (and be major economy and trading centre) whether the mullahs let him is the question. In ten years we shall see.

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