ATR has delivered five more turboprop planes to IranAir ahead of US sanctions over the nuclear deal. The renewed sanctions kick in on August 7.
IranAir took delivery of five more ATR turboprop aircraft, it said on Sunday, easing a state of limbo surrounding Western plane deals since Washington exited a nuclear sanctions pact between Iran and major world powers.
Iran's flag carrier said in a posting on its Telegram channel that all five new ATR 72-600 planes landed in the northwestern Iranian city of Urmia for refuelling and would then fly on to Tehran.
ATR – co-owned by Airbus and Italy's Leonardo – has been pressing US authorities to allow it to deliver aircraft it built for Iran under a deal to reopen trade links in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear activities.
In the wake of that deal, Iran Air ordered a total of 200 aircraft from Western plane-makers including 20 from ATR, which is based in Toulouse, France.
August 7 deadline
But few have been delivered and US President Donald Trump's decision in May to pull the United States out of the nuclear deal gives most companies until August 7 to complete ongoing business with Iran before new US sanctions apply.
Plane-makers say they are unable to use this window because Washington has also revoked export licences needed by all Western plane-makers due to their heavy use of US parts.
ATR – which had delivered eight planes to Iran under the deal and started building another 12 – has been lobbying the US treasury to allow it to take advantage of the normal wind-down period for Iran business by giving it temporary new licences.
ATR declined to comment on Saturday. Industry sources said the final number of planes to be delivered would be known in coming days.
The US decision on Iran has raised question marks over whether ATR can reach a target of stabilising annual deliveries at 80 aircraft in 2018.
The plane-maker has said it would suffer financial damage if it cannot deliver the aircraft it has already produced following earlier US approvals, and is looking for alternative buyers.
Airbus said last month it would not attempt to deliver any more planes to Iran in the wind-down period. It has delivered just three of 100 ordered by IranAir.
Boeing, which had sold 80 jets to IranAir under the 2015 nuclear deal, does not plan any deliveries. Unlike the European firms, it never placed the Iranian deal in its official order book on the grounds that it never received a deposit.