Iran Aseman Airlines has managed to acquire an Airbus A340-300 (MSN 002) indirectly from US lessor GMT Global Republic Aviation, two sources close to the matter told Flightglobal.

A deal was signed with Bangladeshi airline Rajshahi Air involving the sale of two A340-300s on behalf of GMT via an independent remarketing agent employed by Falko (hired under its previous name BAE Systems Asset Management), according to a source.

Falko was brought on board around 12 months ago to remarket two A340s for GMT, which was leasing the aircraft to Virgin Atlantic Airways, both sources said.

Iran Aseman A340

 © Shahram Sharifi - Iranian Spotters

"Rajshahi Air presented a credible and detailed business plan for the operation of two A340s on long-haul services from Bangladesh," one of the sources said.

It is understood that the original business plan involved transporting the first A340 to Tunis to be painted in Rajshahi Air colours, before flying on to Bangladesh. However, it is claimed the Tunis paint slot became "unavailable" and the aircraft was instead sent to Mehrabad where it was blessed with camel blood and added to Iran Aseman Airlines' fleet, the source said.

It has not been disclosed how the acquisition of the first A340 aircraft (MSN 002) was financed. The CFM International CFM56-powered aircraft was built in 1992, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database.

It is understood that after it transpired that the first A340 had been sold on to Iran Aseman Airlines, Falko blocked the deal involving the second A340-300 (MSN 003).

The European Union and the USA have imposed strict sanctions on Iran owing to controversies surrounding the Iranian nuclear programme. While EU sanctions restrict foreign trade to Iran, the USA has implemented an economic embargo on Iran, including a ban on selling aircraft or repair parts to Iranian aviation companies.

This second A340, also built in 1992, is now "parked with GMT", after a subsequent deal for Portuguese charter carrier Luzair to acquire the aircraft later fell through, a source said.

Iran Aseman Airlines was unavailable for comment, while Rajshahi Air could not be contacted for comment.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news