24 September IRNA

Iran to buy seven Airbus planes, to commence flights to Canada

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The managing director of the Iranian national carrier, Iran Air, on Monday [24 September] expressed hope that by the end of the current year (20 March 2002), a contract with one of the world's biggest plane manufacturers, Airbus, can be signed for the purchase of seven of its passenger planes.

Davud Keshavarzian, who left Tehran for Seoul (capital of South Korea) on Thursday (20 September) to take part in an international conference on tourism in the city, said: "In line with the Iranian Aviation Company's (IAC) policy of increasing its foreign flights, we are to launch a Tehran-Canada direct line in the near future."

Answering a question about IAC flight security measures, he said all of the company's flights comply with international standards. Elsewhere in his remarks, he stressed that all managers and personnel of the IAC do their best to provide flight services similar to those provided by various aviation companies all over the world.

Earlier this month (8 September), IAC managing director Behzad Mazaheri had announced that before the end of the Iranian month of Azar in the current Iranian year (started 21 March) the company was to purchase seven Airbus planes in accordance with a plan to increase the country's plane fleet. "Iran, with its unique geographical location in the region and neighbouring some 11 countries, can be the best travel destination for these countries," he said.

The current Iran Air fleet is made up largely of old Boeing 747s bought before the 1979 Islamic revolution. US economic sanctions imposed after Tehran and Washington broke off diplomatic ties in 1980 bar sales of Boeing airliners, Airbus' biggest competitor in the plane manufacturing industry, to the Islamic Republic and hinder its acquisition of other aircraft, many of which rely on US-built engines or other components.

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