By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin
BEIRUT, Dec 13 – European planemaker Airbus and Iran Air will finalise a deal to buy aircraft in two weeks, the head of Iran’s flag carrier said on Tuesday, adding Airbus has agreed to provide financing for 17 planes.
Uncertainty over financing of the deal and political opposition in the United States against Iran have slowed down Tehran’s efforts to import aircraft following the lifting of sanctions this year.
Iran signed a $16.6 billion deal for 80 Boeing passenger jets on Sunday, the biggest package of firm contracts with Western companies since Iran’s 1979 revolution.
Iran Air Chief Executive Farhad Parvaresh said he was hopeful to finalise the deal with Airbus in two weeks.
“There are only few small remaining issues like financing. Airbus has agreed to provide financing for 17 planes,” he was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
Iranian officials told Reuters in November that they have reached a deal with a foreign leasing company to finance the first 17 jets from Airbus but declined to name the lessor involved.
Parvaresh said Iran Air was trying to get first five Airbus planes before March 2017.
During a visit by President Hassan Rouhani to Paris in January 2016, Iran provisionally ordered 118 Airbus jets worth $27 billion.