Iran Air has emerged as one of several operators that have looked at taking the first two A340-500s in storage at Chateauroux airport in France. The widebodies had been due for delivery to original launch operator Air Canada in May but were not accepted after the carrier filed for bankruptcy protection in April.

Other airlines known to have evaluated the Rolls-Royce Trent 500-powered aircraft include Royal Brunei Airlines and South African Airways (Flight International, 8-14 July).

Iran Air is believed to have considered the A340-500s because they would be easier to acquire than new aircraft with US engines, due to the USA's trade sanctions against Iran.

According to a senior Iranian aviation source, Iran Air "is interested in these aircraft, but neither Airbus nor Rolls-Royce has as yet confirmed a willingness to deliver". The source says the airline has been talking to Airbus for three years about various possible deals, but has been unable to firm any up.

With the acquisition of Boeing aircraft blocked by the US embargo, Iran Air and fellow Iranian airline Mahan Air have acquired a number of secondhand A300s and A310s in recent years. In 1996, Iran Air began talks to buy 10 International Aero Engines V2500-powered A321s and seven Trent 700-powered A330s, but the deal was never confirmed.

Iran Air recently added three Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies on wet lease to meet its capacity needs.

Source: Flight International