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Iran-built plane to join aviation fleet by year's end

Tehran, June 9, IRNA -- Head of Defense Industries Organization Colonel Hossein Alaei said here Iran-manufactured plane, 'Iran-140', is to join the national aviation fleet by the end of the current Iranian year (started March 20).

Colonel Alaei told IRNA that two aircraft are ready to take on passengers. "We are waiting for airlines to expresses 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.

The airliner is groomed for flights in semi-state owned Safiran and Caspian airlines, the official added.

Ukraine sold the production license for 100 An-140 to Iran in 2000, the only foreign market Antonov's cash-strapped aircraft producers have yet managed to enter.

The airliner, with a high wing configuration and traditional tail unit as well as engines decked under its wings, has a range of 2,100 kilometers at a cruising speed of up to 575 kph.

Iranian airlines are seeking to refurbish their aging fleet and meet demand in the face of rising passenger numbers despite their financial troubles and US sanctions which bar the sale of aircraft and parts to the Islamic Republic.

More than 100 Russian and Ukrainian enterprises are reportedly involved in Iran's production of the An-140, with some 80 percent of parts coming from Russia.

The production line has cost Iran 253 million dollars and will have a capacity to assemble 12 aircraft per year. Iran, Russia and Ukraine are reportedly looking at a possible joint project to assemble Tupolev-334 jets in Iran.

... Payvand News - 6/10/04 ... --

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