Exclusive: Iran's Airbus jet purchase gets boost from lease finance deal - sources
By Tim Hepher and Parisa Hafezi
SINGAPORE/ANKARA (Reuters) - Iran has reached a deal with a foreign leasing company to finance the first 17 jets it plans to buy from Airbus (AIR.PA: Quote), breaking a logjam in efforts to import aircraft following the lifting of sanctions, people familiar with the move said.
The deal removes a significant hurdle to securing the first tranche of jets, following uncertainty over financing and political opposition in the United States and Iran, though the sources caution months of talking have thrown up new potential hurdles.
Iranian officials declined to name the lessor involved, but industry sources said in September that Iran was in advanced talks with the United Arab Emirates' Dubai Aerospace about helping to finance the purchase.
"We have a deal to finance the first 17 aircraft," a senior Iranian official told Reuters, without elaborating.
Dubai Aerospace and Airbus both declined to comment.
Under the deal, the leasing company would take over part of Iran's order for dozens of new jetliners and then lease them to the country's flag carrier.
A similar mechanism could be used to finance a provisional order for 20 turboprops from ATR, which is half-owned by Airbus, one of the people said. ATR had no immediate comment.
Tehran provisionally ordered more than 100 jets each from Airbus and Boeing this year after a deal with major powers to lift most sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on nuclear activities. Continued...