Iran has the capacity to add 50 regional planes to its fleet within the next 10 years, in addition to the 20 short-haul aircraft the country has ordered from French-Italian plane manufacturer ATR, the CEO of flag-carrier Iran Air said.
“The ATR jets will meet the needs of 60% of Iran’s small airports,” IRNA was quoted as saying by the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development's news service.
Iran signed the ATR deal, worth more than $1 billion, during President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Italy and France late January, following the lifting of western sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
ATR—Avions de Transport Regional or Regional Air Transport in English is co-owned by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and Italian aerospace group Finmeccanica.
The deal also allows Iran to add another 20 jets to the purchase in the future, according to its needs.
“There are airports in Iran that operate only 3-4 flights a week. With new small planes, they could increase the number to 2-3 flights a day,” Parvaresh said.
Tehran is looking to meet part of its demand for regional planes from Japan.
Deputy minister of roads and urban development, Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan, has said Iran is willing to purchase 25 short-haul aircraft worth up to $500 million from Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation.