Opinion: Opportunity window closes for Iranian aviation industry
This article was written by James Kim, Group Managing Director at AvCon Worldwide (Holdings). The opinion of the authors does not necessarily correspond with that of the editorial team. Want your opinion to be featured on AeroTime? Send us a line at email@example.com.
A short while ago US President Donald Trump announced that the US is leaving Iran nuclear deal and re-imposing sanctions against Iran.
I wrote a couple of articles covering what Iranian airlines, aviation industry have to do at that time. There was a way to purchase aircraft, engines, and parts legally by applying for an OFAC licence. However, Iranians didn't like to follow such route or ignored it.
Many Iranians tried to acquire aircraft, engines, and parts without OFAC licences. Some non-Iranian firms got into trouble and were sanctioned by the US government for breaking OFAC rules and dealing with Iranians illegally - notably Khors Aircompany and Dart Airlines were listed on SDN list in September 2017.
I received a few requests from Iranian and those claiming to be representatives of Iranian entities. None of them were interested in going through OFAC licensing process, yet still looking for ways to acquire what they want by breaking OFAC regulations.
Today the window of opportunity is gone and race for illegal acquisition of aviation assets will intensify. There are going to be willing proxies from developing countries who are willing to act as frontmen for acquisitions on behalf of Iranians. Also, there will be no further aircraft deliveries by Airbus and ATR, so there will be race for parts acquisition too.
It is a sad day for Iranian aviation, but the impact of today's events will cause a far wider effect. Aviation industry will consider dealing with Iran as a more risky business and avoid dealing with Iranians.
There will be parties in developing countries and third world countries who are willing to be proxies of Iranian interests for monetary gain by working as middlemen for acquisition of aviation assets. It is important to check the end-user even if potential customers are not from Iran as they can be Iranian proxies and businesses, persons who made the deals with Iranians or Iranian proxies, which may result in facing US sanctions and penalties.
Iranians should have acquired aviation assets when they could, by obtaining OFAC licences. Now the window of opportunity is shut and closed.
Note: the text has been edited by AeroTime team. Read the original version here.