Privately-owned Iranian carrier Mahan Air is in negotiation with Airbus and an unnamed airline for the purchase of an additional Airbus A300B4. The airline already operates two A300B4-100s and one A300B4-200, but needs a fourth aircraft to boost frequencies on its Bangkok, Dubai and Seoul schedules, and to add extra capacity for further expansion in the Middle and Far East.
Mahan Air also operates twoTu-154Ms leased from Russia on its domestic network, which takes in Tehran, Mashad and Zahedan. Last year, the airline carried 600,000 passengers, a figure that is expected to increase to 800,000 this year. Mahan Air is owned in large part by a local industrial and service organisation involved in car manufacture and hotel management.
Continuing economic sanctions are forcing Iranian carriers to forage in the second-hand market. Flag-carrier Iran Air is buying five A310-200s from THY Turkish Airlines, with the first three due to arrive in Tehran in June, and the remainder by the end of the year. The carrier obtained an A310-300 in February from Emirates as it starts to revamp its ageing fleet. Four 707s - three in passenger configuration and the fourth a freighter - were retired earlier this year. The carrier also has several ancient 747s, 727s and 737s it needs to start replacing. Iran Air still hopes to acquire four new A330-300s, if and when US sanctions are lifted.
Meanwhile the sanctions on Iran lifted slightly recently when the US State Department approved modification work on four 747-100/200s operated by SAHA Air as freighters. The decision was taken on the grounds of safety. The Iranian operator is dispatching the aircraft to Spanish airline Iberia for engine pylon work.
Source: Flight International