In a move that was doing the rounds immediately after international sanctions against Iran were lifted recently, the country on Sunday 24 January confirmed it is buying 114 Airbus airliners to replace its current, dangerously tired fleet of commercial aircraft. The Airbus jets will be used buy Iran Air.
The deal will be signed on Wednesday during a visit to Paris by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian government confirmed.
Iran is looking for A320s and A340s, which is remarkably and a challenge by itself as the A340 is out of production. Teheran said the first aircraft are to be delivered in months, which could indicate the A340s are actually used aircraft. Iran states it is also looking at the A380 for long routes.
Fleet & spare parts
Right now, Iran Air used older A300, A310 and A320 aircraft, along with several Boeing 747-200s and a dozen or so Fokker 100s. Commercial aviation in Iran over the last two decades was known to be a dangerous undertaking due to lack of spare parts. Several deadly crashes have plagued the country. The order for new aircraft is therefore no surprise.
Iran is expected to need several hundred more airplanes to get its commercial fleet into shape.
The remnants of what was once the pride of the Dutch aviation industry is changing hands. Fokker Technologies has been sold to GKN for 706 million euro, increasing GKN’s position of one of the largest produces of aircraft parts worldwide once the authorities that guard monopolies in both Europe and the United States agree with GKN’s purchase.
Fokker Technologies currently produces lightweight aircraft parts, cables and landing gear, plus it does aircraft maintenance and logistics. It is a surviving heritage of the once larger Fokker (Aerospace) that produced hundreds of military and commercial aircraft between 1912 and 1996 – when the company was declared bankrupt. Started by Anthony Fokker in 1912 in Germany, the aircraft manufacturer moved in 1919 to the Netherlands.
A serious attempt since 2010 by the company called Rekkof (“Fokker” spelled backwards) to redevelop and restart production of larger version of the Fokker 70 (F90NG) and a larger version of the Fokker 100 (F120NG) with financial support from the Dutch government has so far not led to the actual start-up of an assembly line.
The Fuerza de Aviación de la Marina de Guerra del Perú, or the Aviation Force of the Navy of Peru, formally started operations with the two Fokker F.50 maritime multipurpose aircraft on 21 November 2014.
During a special ceremony at Naval Air Station Lima-Callao the ex-Royal Netherlands Air Force aircraft were handed over, after they left the Netherlands on 17 November 2014. The aircraft were prepared by Fokker Technologies at Woensdrecht Airbase in the Netherlands before their transfer.
As a naval asset the aircraft can stay airborne for 7 hours, fly a maximum range of 1300 nautical miles (2400 km) and have a top speed of 270 knots. Amongst other upgrades the aircraft will operate Signal Intelligence equipment. They are powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW 127B Turbo propeller engines. They served with the RNLAF under registration U-05 and U-06 since 1996, being put up for sale in 2009 and were finally sold at the end of October 2014. The aircraft were kept in good shape, making a quick transfer to Peru possible.
The transfer will bring the total Peruvian Navy Fokker strength on six aircraft, as the Latin American country bought 2 Fokker F.60UTA-N (utility) and 2 Fokker F.60MPA (maritime patrol aircraft) in 2010 from the Netherlands.