Iran's Aseman Airlines signs deal to buy at least 30 Boeing jets

Tue Apr 4, 2017 11:38am EDT
 
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By Babak Dehghanpisheh and Tim Hepher

DUBAI/PARIS (Reuters) - Iran's Aseman Airlines has signed a tentative deal to buy at least 30 Boeing (BA.N: Quote) 737 MAX jets, in the first new business with the U.S. planemaker since President Donald Trump took office vowing to take a tougher stance toward Iran.

Owned by Iran's civil service pension foundation but managed as a private company, Aseman is Iran's third-largest airline by active fleet size, according to the CAPA consultancy.

Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency said on Tuesday representatives of Aseman and Boeing had signed an agreement in Tehran covering as many as 60 jets, including options, after a year of negotiations.

Boeing described the deal as a "memorandum of agreement," meaning it is only outline for the time being and subject to government approvals. It covers plans for Aseman to buy 30 aircraft with options for a further 30, it added.

If completed, the main part of the deal for 30 jets would be worth $3.4 billion at list prices, though airlines typically pay around half that.

Boeing has already agreed to sell 80 aircraft to flag carrier IranAir under a deal between Tehran and major powers that led to the lifting of most sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear technology development activities.

Trump has said he opposes the nuclear sanctions pact, but has not stated a public view on the aircraft deals reached under the accord, which the U.S. aerospace industry says would support his agenda for protecting U.S. manufacturing jobs.

Washington last month imposed separate sanctions on 25 Iranian individuals and entities following a ballistic missile test. Iran retaliated with its own sanctions.   Continued...

 
Ground crew members escort a Boeing 737 MAX as it returns from a flight test at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington January 29, 2016.  REUTERS/Jason Redmond/File Photo