Boeing obtains licence to supply spares to Iran

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Boeing and other aerospace manufacturers have secured approval to supply aircraft parts to Iranian companies under the terms of an international agreement negotiated last year.

Political representatives agreed an interim pact in Geneva during November 2013 under which sanctions on Iranian organisations would be eased in exchange for concessions on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Sanctions had prohibited the supply of new aircraft to Iranian carriers, which has forced the government to obtain used airframes from third-party sources, and hampered the provision of maintenance and spares.

In the wake of the Geneva negotiations the US Office of Foreign Assets Control stated in January that organisations could request authorisation to engage in transactions “to ensure the safe operation” of Iranian commercial passenger aircraft.

These transactions, it added, could involve Iran Air but none of the other specific carriers listed on the office’s Iranian prohibition list.

It said that activities which could be licensed included export of inspection services, repair or maintenance of aircraft, and the provision of spare parts. Licences issued under the policy would expire in mid-July, it added, and business would need to be concluded by then.

Boeing confirms it has been granted a licence to sell commercial spares “needed for safety of flight” to Iran. “This was authorised for a limited period of time,” it adds.

Iran Air has a fleet which includes several Airbus A300s and A310s, ageing Boeing 747-200s and a 747SP, as well as Fokker 100s and Airbus A320s.

The flag-carrier has sought maintenance services from General Electric and Germany's MTU Aero Engines to repair powerplants on its 747 fleet, and MTU confirms that it has agreed to "make a contribution towards restoring the engines" on the long-haul type, in co-operation with GE.

Iran Air has GE CF6 powerplants on some of its 747s while others are fitted with Pratt & Whitney JT9Ds.

MTU says the engine work is "limited" in terms of the number of GE engines to be overhauled and the time permitted to complete it. "It will not be before mid-April that the details of the overhaul are agreed jointly together with GE and with the Iranian airline," it explains.

But it adds that safety is the "number one priority" for commercial aviation and that it is prepared to conduct the work to ensure safe flight operations for the Iran Air fleet.