The head of the Civil Aviation Organization said the West is waging a full-scale war against Iran’s aviation sector as he unveiled plans to produce a 50-seat Iranian plane.
“The idea and plan to build a passenger plane has been around for years. It is an order and strategy that the Islamic Republic is following,” Mohammad Mohammadi-Bakhsh told a news conference Wednesday on the beginning day of the Government Week.
The official said using the scientific capacities of the country for the purpose requires a great convergence and industrial work, noting that in the world a few countries can produce airplanes in the form of consortiums.
Given the special restrictions with which the Islamic Republic is faced in the form of sanctions and other hostile measures, Iran has to pool all its capacities for the plan.
According to Mohammadi-Bakhsh, three platforms for 50-, 72- and 150-seat passenger planes have been prepared, wherein the country’s needs have been taken into account.
The production will start with a 50-seat model at the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries Corporation based in Shahin Shahr, Isfahan Province.
“Of course, necessary reviews will be made in various areas and the problems and defects will be resolved in coordination with the ministries of road, defense and industry,” he said.
“In the not too distant future, we will announce good news about the production of Iranian aircraft. At the same time, we will pursue imports of foreign-made planes,” the official added.
The civil aviation program includes a 10-year roadmap charting out the direction which it has to take according to the needs of the regional and extra-regional markets.
He pointed to the Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi’s order to prepare a 10-year plan in the aviation industry and said under the plan, which mandates expansion of Iran’s civil fleet to 550 aircrafts, repairing parts and manufacturing Iranian aircraft are underway.
“For what we are experiencing in the aviation sector, ‘sanctions’ is too modest a word. We are in a full-scale war with the West. In this regard, we use all our capacities to make the sanctions less effective and ultimately ineffective, in which we have been successful so far,” Mohammadi-Bakhsh said.
“We do not send any engine or aircraft abroad for repair and maintenance. At present, we repair the aircraft of the countries” that have a technological edge in the area, he added.
Iran had placed orders for purchasing over 200 brand new planes valued at $36 billion from Airbus, Boeing and Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR after it reached nuclear deal in 2015. The contracts, however, came to a halt in 2018 after the US Treasury banned the planemakers from supplying the jets to Iran.
Iran had imported three aircrafts from Airbus and 13 from ATR when the US Treasury Department under former president Donald Trump revoked export licenses.
Mohammadi-Bashkh has said some of the aircraft delivered under the nuclear agreement require heavy maintenance checks, but the Europeans are not fulfilling their obligations to supply repair components.
Meanwhile, a searing question on the minds of many Iranians has been whether the duopolists and ATR will ever consummate the deals.