Iran to sue aircraft manufacturers

Iran will take legal action against Airbus and ATR, arguing that the two failed to meet their obligations to supply aircraft parts despite earlier agreements.

Mohammad Mohammadi Bakhsh, the new head of the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) – the country’s civil aviation regulatory body – told Iranian public broadcaster Presstv.ir that the two European aircraft manufacturers have systematically refused to honor their contracts to supply spare parts to Iranian air carriers for fear of sanctions from the United States.

Presstv.ir further adds that the contracts were not honored although they were signed before the entry into force of the US sanctions.

“Airbus and ATR have cited US sanctions whenever the issue has arisen. Therefore, we protest against this decision and will take legal action against them, ”said Bakhsh, quoted by Iranian Labor News Agency, another state-controlled Iranian news agency.

The US government, under the Trump administration, withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018. This included a US ban on the sale of planes and parts to Iranian airlines. . Airbus and ATR planes are assembled in Europe, but contain parts and systems made in the United States.

Bakhsh says Airbus and ATR should treat the issue of spare parts in a different way from the issue of aircraft deliveries. He says the failure to provide spare parts could lead to aviation security incidents in Iran. Iran will continue to prosecute the two companies no matter what happens in the future regarding talks between Iran and world powers over a nuclear deal, he adds.

Iran placed orders for 200 new planes from Airbus and Boeing after signing the nuclear deal with the P5 + 1 group of countries in 2015, which included the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely : China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States plus Germany. Iran also ordered in early 2016, on behalf of the common carrier Iran Air, 20 ATR 72-600s with options for 20 more.

However, aircraft purchases suddenly came to a halt in 2018 when the United States imposed the sanctions.

ATR delivered a total of 13 ATR 72-600s to Iran, the last five of which were transported to Iran just before the sanction came into effect.

Bakhsh, who previously headed one of Iran’s air carriers, was appointed head of the Iranian CAO in October, apparently with a mission to help Iran’s struggling airline industry.

ATR received temporary approval from the United States in early 2019 to export spare parts to Iran, but that initial approval was scheduled to expire on April 20, 2021.

Editor’s comment: Before the sanctions were imposed, Iran was in the process of replacing its aging fleet of commercial jets with new ones. The problem with banning the sale of spare parts is that it poses a threat to aviation safety.

Airlines must have access to spare parts for airplanes.

Imposing sanctions also means that you are creating an opportunity for the “shady middlemen” setting up businesses in third countries.

These intermediaries legitimately import the spare parts into the third country, then surreptitiously export the spare parts to Iran. The end customer, in this case Iran, ends up paying a huge markup on the spare parts. But he does not necessarily know the history of these spare parts either.

The image, from ATR, shows five Iran Air ATR 72-600s at ATR’s facilities in Toulouse prior to delivery.

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