Iran may soon be receiving the first Western-built jet airplane since 1979, Iranian state media has reported after claims by industry sources of Turkish Airlines being cash-strapped.
“[T]wo 777 Boeing passenger planes will be delivered to the national flag carrier Iran Air,” IRNA reported on Sunday, citing an unnamed “informed” source.
The initial report by IRNA on April 4 stated the deal was for the Boeing 737 model, and Boeing has not publicly announced otherwise.
Boeing confirmed in an April 4 statement the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement with Iran’s Aseman Airlines with “the intent to purchase 30 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes with a list price value of $3 billion” and provide “purchase rights for 30 additional 737 MAXs.”
Iran would begin to receive the 737 airplanes in 2022, according to Boeing; however, IRNA wrote on Sunday that two of the 777 models, according to its source, will be delivered “to Iran within the next month.”
“The source noted that the Turkish Airlines was supposed to purchase the two 777 planes, but it refrained from doing so,” IRNA wrote, adding that the total figure is 80 passenger planes.
Reuters cited industry sources saying delivery of the first aircraft may have been moved up because Turkish Airlines is “cash-strapped,” which was supported by earlier reports last month.
“Once the rising star of the aviation industry, the Istanbul-based carrier, formally known as Turk Hava Yollari AO, posted a 47 million-lira ($13 million) net loss last year compared with profit of 3 billion liras in 2015, its first annual deficit since 2000,” Bloomberg News reported in mid-March.
Iran and the United States have had no direct formal diplomatic relations since the overthrow of the Shah in the 1979 Islamic revolution, and the two countries have engaged in economic tussles since.
Iran sanctioned 15 US companies in March, after the United States issued economic sanctions in February targeting 12 companies and 13 individuals from doing business with Iranian companies or individuals.
“Boeing negotiated the [memorandum of understanding] under authorizations from the U.S. government following a determination that Iran had met its obligations under the nuclear accord signed in 2015,” the statement from Boeing read.