Opportunity knocks

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore June 9, 2014 13:55

Opportunity knocks

Watch out this week for Azul Airlines and others, to see if they can gain big out of the FIFA World Cup. But the pick of airlines to watch for in 2014 from an equipment perspective remains Iran Air.

Iran Air senior staff expect US sanctions to be further lifted during 2014, or else they would not be so very vocal about their wish to upgrade their fleet. This week a need was voiced for at least 100 new aircraft as soon as the sanctions are lifted as a full mix of narrow and wide body.

In a telling move, Farhad Parvaresh, chairman and managing director of Iran Air, also stated that he would be working with the same companies that have co-operated with his airline during the current sanctions relief window over the past six months. That means Airbus, Boeing and GE are front runners for orders if sanctions are lifted on June 20th,. If the sanctions are lifted we can expect a Farnborough Air Show announcement of Iran Air orders. Parvaresh listed the A320, 737-800, A330 and A350, 777 and 787 as of interest and even mentioned the 747-8 if the price was right.

But in a hint that Iran Air was ready to come to the leasing table to secure aircraft at speed Parvaresh confirmed that leasing was a leading option at this time if sanctions are lifted.

There is no question that a sanctions-free Iran Air could well be the new airline giant. The airline after all has a home market of 76m of which there remains to this day a large middle class population.

Parvaresh stated that some 400 aircraft would be required in the short to medium term and that his airline could well be the new THY and in a sanctions free market he will be looking to emulate the THY business model. Iran has the geography for this and it has the very low cost base to take-on the Middle East giants and win over a long period if Iran can remain stable.

The lifting of Iranian sanctions would drop oil and gas prices at a stroke as the world’s largest reserves of oil and gas are once again put on the open market and drilling parts and technology can once again flow into Iran. This is very good news for all airlines and it may well be the case that many airlines negotiating fuel price hedges need to be very wary indeed of being caught out by market price checks if Iran is opened-up.

Iran sanctions being lifted presents a wonderful opportunity to aviation across the board, but if they are not lifted then Iran Air will have to look to Russia and China for aircraft and that will give the new COMAC/UAC widebody JV a real boost indeed.

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore June 9, 2014 13:55
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