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Iran purchased 39 civilian planes over past two years

Tehran, July 24, IRNA -- An Internet site said here Saturday that despite additional nine articles passed in 2002 by the US congress to the previously imposed sanctions on Iran, the country has been able to purchase 39 planes in the last two years.

The Government Spokesman Site said that of the 39 planes bought, 22 are already in flight and 17 more will be added to the civil aviation fleet in the current Iranian year (started March 22).

"Also, negotiations to acquire 32 more aircraft have been carried out and the contract will be signed in the near future," it added.

Since the beginning of the Islamic revolution in 1979 up to the Iranian year of 1381 (started March 20, 2002) the total purchase of "good condition" planes totaled 14, excluding six used Turkish planes, and one from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which joined the domestic aviation fleet later.

In order to increase safety and reduce air accidents in addition to purchasing new planes and reducing the fleet's average age from 21 to 16 years, 16 aircraft were also discarded, the site said.

The measures have been instrumental in reducing air accidents as indicated by only one incident since March 2002 which involved a light plane, it added.

Head of Defense Industries Organization Colonel Hossein Alaei said here in June that Iran-manufactured plane, 'Iran-140`, is to join the national aviation fleet by the end of the year.

He told IRNA that two aircraft are ready to take on passengers. "We are waiting for airlines to express their readiness to use the planes," he added.

The plane which has a 52-passenger capacity is designed for short term hauls which should expedite the speed of aviation network and make use of 36 inactive airports throughout the country, Alaei underlined.

He said the plane is similar to 'Air-Taxi` and could be useful in transporting passengers between border provinces and neighboring countries.

He said the final price of the plane is dlrs nine million which is less costly than the similar foreign counterparts.

"Due to sanctions imposed on Iran it is difficult to purchase new planes from other countries," Alaei underlined.

Iran officially inducted the first Iran-140 passenger plane, built with the help of Ukrainians, into its aviation fleet at Mehrabad airport last year.

The plane officially entered the aviation line after passing a flight test.

... Payvand News - 7/25/04 ... --

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