Iran confirms purchase of four Airbus A340 airliners

Mehdi Photos /

Iran’s Civil Aviation Administration has confirmed the purchase of four Airbus A340 wide-body aircraft, despite US sanctions. 

On December 24, 2022, the four Airbus A340 airliners, formerly flown by Turkish Airlines and recently registered in Burkina Faso, departed for a scheduled flight from South Africa to Uzbekistan. However, as they flew over Iran, the aircraft disappeared from flight tracking services. 

Days later, their presence at Mehrabad International Airport (THR) in Tehran, Iran, was confirmed by satellite imagery. 

On December 29, 2022, Hassan Khoshko, spokesman for the Civil Aviation Administration of Iran, announced that the four airliners had been acquired to be used by one of Iran’s airlines. It is unclear how the deal to circumvent sanctions was struck. 

With the country being under international sanctions since the end of the 1970s, Iran’s civil aviation is in dire need of new aircraft. 

In May 2018, the United States administration decided to reimpose sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, described by then newly-elected President Donald Trump as the main sponsor of international terrorism.  

As a result, many aviation companies on both sides of the Atlantic were forced to annul hundreds of aircraft sales to Iran, worth over $30 billion. 

Only the Franco-Italian planemaker ATR managed to follow through, delivering five aircraft to Iran Air on August 5, 2018, a mere day before new US sanctions took effect. 

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