Only days after Iran signed a landmark agreement to purchase 118 planes from Airbus, an aviation official in Tehran said a separate order to buy 40 turboprop planes from the European manufacturer ATR is in the pipeline.
ATR 600 planes
"We discussed the deals in Italy and France and ATR officials are expected in Tehran in the coming days to complete the agreement," Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan, a top deputy transport minister, has been quoted by the media as saying.
"There will be 20 firm and 20 optional orders," he added, without specifying the value of the contract.
ATR is based in France and is a joint partnership between two major European aeronautics players - France's Airbus Group and Italy's Finmeccanica.
Iran signed an agreement with Airbus on Thursday over the purchase of 118 Airbus planes. The agreement - that was signed during the visit to Paris by the Iranian Hassan Rouhani - will provide Iran with 73 long-haul and 45 medium-haul planes with a total value of $25 billion.
Iran's current civil aviation fleet consists of 248 aircraft with an average age of 20 years, of which 100 are in storage.
The country will need to buy above 500 commercial jets of various models at a cost of $50 billion and has been talking to both Airbus and Boeing to acquire aircraft under lease or sale/leaseback deals.
Russian major airplane makers have already voiced readiness to satisfy Iran's needs for planes. However, Mohammad Khodakarami, the deputy director of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization (CAO), said in early January that domestic airlines are not interested in Russian brands.
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