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Over half of Iran’s civilian planes grounded for lack of spare parts

Amid faltering economy and international sanctions, Iranian official says 170 aircraft are inactive, mostly due to missing motors

A Mahan Air passenger plane takes off from Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, Iran, Febuary 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
A Mahan Air passenger plane takes off from Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, Iran, Febuary 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

TEHRAN, Iran  — More than half of Iran’s fleet of civilian aircraft is grounded due to a lack of spare parts, the deputy head of the country’s airlines association has said.

“The number of inactive planes in Iran has risen to more than 170… as a result of missing spare parts, particularly motors,” Alireza Barkhor said in an interview with state news agency IRNA.

The shortage represented more than half of the civilian aircraft in the sanctions-hit country, he said in an interview this week.

“If this trend continues, we will see even more planes grounded in the near future,” Barkhor was quoted as saying.

“We hope that one of the priorities of the government will be helping to finance airlines so that they are able to provide the spare parts to refurbish the grounded planes,” he added.

According to the Iranian economic daily Financial Tribune, national carrier IranAir currently operates a fleet of 39 planes, the majority of them Airbus jets.

A Boeing 747 of the state carrier IranAir is seen at Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran, June 2003. (AP Photo/ Hasan Sarbakhshian, File)

Iran’s economy has struggled under sanctions that were lifted after a landmark nuclear deal in 2015, but reimposed again after the US withdrew from the pact in 2018.

In 2016, following the lifting of sanctions, Iran concluded deals to purchase 100 Airbus jets, 80 Boeing planes, and 40 ATR aircraft, hoping to upgrade its aging fleet and the constant problem of finding spare parts.

But the Islamic Republic received only 11 planes as deliveries were interrupted following the reimposition of sanctions, according to the Financial Tribune.

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