LONDON, April 10 IranAir has signed a contract
to buy 20 planes from turboprop maker ATR, Iranian deputy
transport minister was quoted as saying on Monday.
The deal comes after Iran, which had not directly purchased
a Western-built plane in nearly 40 years, signed contracts with
Europe's Airbus and U.S. rival Boeing last year
to purchase about 180 jets.
That became possible after an agreement between Iran and six
major powers lifted most international sanctions imposed on
Tehran, in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program.
ATR is joint-owned by France-based Airbus and Leonardo
"The contract between IranAir and ATR to buy 20 ATR 72-600
aircrafts has been signed by the officials of both countries,"
Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan was quoted as saying by ISNA.
A basic deal for the purchase of 20 airplanes, with options
for another 20, was reached several weeks ago but negotiations
dragged on over an agreement for maintenance and spare engines
between IranAir and engine supplier Pratt & Whitney Canada,
owned by U.S. aerospace group United Technologies.
It was not immediately clear whether Fakhrieh-Kashan was
referring to the underlying aircraft contract or the final
package including the engine deal.
ATR was not immediately available for comment, but on Sunday
a spokesman said, "We are still working on finalising the deal."
(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London and Tim Hepher in
Paris, editing by Louise Heavens)