These days, familiar officials with the air fleet in Iran speak about the government’s failure to revive it, which has led it to bankruptcy. Aviation companies can no longer continue in such circumstances.
“Half of Iran’s airplanes have been grounded,” said Ali Reza Manzari, the former deputy chief of the civil aviation organization, in an interview with Iran daily on December 5.
These planes have been grounded due to the fatigue of the country’s air fleet, which poses severe risks for passengers’ lives. In this context, not only do people avoid flying on exhausted planes but also pilots and crews refuse flights.
Fatigue, the Main Reason for the Bankruptcy of Iran’s Air Fleet
Exhausted planes and the lack of necessary safety standards have caused significant disruptions in the country’s aviation industry. “European Commission has published the blacklist of aviation companies, and those companies have been limited due to security issues in Europe. According to the list, Aseman company is on the blacklist, and Iran Air has been placed on the limited list,” state media reported.
Furthermore, the situation of Iran’s aviation companies is very alarming. The Iran Air company possesses only three airplanes, the newest planes of Iran’s air fleet, including two 330 Airbuses and one 321 Airbus.
These planes joined Iran’s air fleet following the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). These airbuses are allowed to fly to the European Union states members.
Their flight range is around 11,000km, enabling the Iran Air company to carry out most of the country’s long-range flights. Tehran’s other long-range planes are not appropriate because their lifespan is more than 20 years.
These three airbuses face technical challenges. Meanwhile, the government has been placed in an awkward position regarding paying the first installments.
The Iran Air company also has 13 other medium-range airliners that carry out regional flights. Tehran had received these 13 planes from the Italian-French company of ATR, one of Airbus’s subsidiaries. Indeed, the 13 jets do not cover the country’s needs due to the government’s failure to provide necessary spare parts.
“The recipient of the first installment of JCPOA planes of the Iran Air company is 3.3 trillion rials [$10 million]. We cannot pay installments, and the government should find a solution,” said Ali Reza Barkhor, the deputy chief of the Aviation Companies Association and the Iran Air company CEO, in an interview with the Fars news agency on February 27.
Given the government’s financial hyper crises, it deemed that Tehran could not find any solution to save the country’s aviation companies, which put Iran’s aviation industry on the verge of collapse.
“More than 170 planes are out of work due to the lack of necessary budget and sanctions restrictions for providing required spares,” said Barkhor. “The country’s aviation companies are at the brink of bankruptcy, and they have been remained alive only by ‘artificial respiration.’”
The Future of Iran’s Air Fleet
Experts believe that the reconstruction of Iran’s air fleet requires at least 400 new planes. However, the Islamic Republic faces enormous dilemmas for affording this number of jets. One of the most prominent barriers backs to the government’s dire financial situation.
For decades, the ayatollahs have spent Iran’s national resources on irresponsible projects such as making nuclear weapons. On December 4, Hassan Hanizadeh, an international affairs analyst, gave mind-blowing numbers about the nuclear program’s expenditures.
“Based on recent estimation, the expenditures of Iran’s nuclear program are between $1.5 to $2 trillion,” Hanizadeh said in an interview with Arman daily. “After 60 years, we have only run a nuclear plant whose capacity is less than 1,000mw with Russian technology. According to the Energy Ministry, it cost at least $10 billion while we should have spent around $2 billion for a similar facility.”
On the other hand, Tehran squanders a significant budget to advance its ballistic missile projects, improve its oppression and espionage apparatuses, and orchestrate terror attempts in the Middle East and across the globe, aside from funding extremist groups and the dictator of Damascus Bashar al-Assad.
If the government ignored these expenses, not only might it be able to renew the country’s air fleet, but it can improve people’s dilemmas, which force them to take to the streets every day.