n’s flag carrier finalized a major deal with U.S. plane maker Boeing Co. to buy $16.6 billion worth of passenger planes Sunday in one of the most tangible benefits yet for the Islamic Republic from last year’s landmark nuclear agreement.
Iran Air’s deal for 80 jetliners is the biggest agreement Iran has struck with an American company since the 1979 revolution and U.S. Embassy takeover. It has the potential to transform Iran’s creaking and accident-prone aviation industry, which has been hobbled by years of sanctions.
Those curbs have prevented the country from buying new planes from Chicago-based Boeing and European rival Airbus, and in many cases made it difficult for Iranian airlines to secure much-needed spare parts.
The deal covers 50 single-aisle 737 Max 8s, a soon-to-be-introduced version of Boeing’s existing narrow-body 737 line.
It also includes 30 777s, a wide-body, twin-engine plane typically used on long-haul routes that is popular with other Persian Gulf carriers such as Dubai-based Emirates. Half of the order will cover the 777-300ER version, while the rest will be of the 777-9 model still under development.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said the planes would be delivered over the next decade. The first will start to arrive in 2018, Boeing said.
In September, Washington granted permission to Boeing and Toulouse, France-based Airbus to sell billions of dollars’ worth of aircraft to Iran. Airbus needed U.S. approval because at least 10 percent of its planes’ components are of American origin.