Iran Air, Iran’s national carrier, has appointed its first female CEO. Farzaneh Sharafbani will replace the current CEO Farhad Parvaresh.

Farzaneh Sharafbani holds a PhD in aerospace; she is the current research department director general and a board member of Iran Air. Previously, she had worked as an expert in inter-airline disputes.

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Headlines about Iranian airlines striking deals (tentative or not) or receiving deliveries from major plane makers have been regularly appearing in the news for the last half a year. The chain of agreements has polarized politicians and aviation experts, with the naysayers being as vocal as the supporters. The ambitious plans to revive Iranian aviation are hanging by a thread, as the sanctions can be reinstituted for any serious offence to the JCPOA agreements that had allowed aircraft exports to the Islamic Republic in the first place.
 

Sharafbani is replacing Farhad Parvaresh, who is going to Montreal, Canada to be representing Iran at the International Civil Aviation Organization, according to Iran Front Page. Parvaresh worked at Iran Air for 28 years at various positions, 8 of them as CEO. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in industrial management.

Sharafbani joins the rare ranks of women airline CEOs in an industry mostly led by men. According to the most recent data – in 2014 less than 5% (twelve out of the IATA-registered 248) of the carriers worldwide were led by females: Air Asia, Air Namibia, CityJet, EasyJet, Jetstar Group, Kuwait Airways, Precision Air, Syrian Arab Airlines, TAM Airlines, Thomson Airways, Transaero, and Aerogal.

The decision to promote Sharafbani coincides with the rapid revival of Iranian aviation. Headlines about Iranian airlines striking deals or receiving deliveries from major plane makers have been regularly appearing in the news for the last half a year.