Boeing will be allowed to resume deliveries of aircraft parts to Iran for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The US planemaker, along with engine manufacturer General Electric (GE), has received a licence from the US government to export spare parts to Iran, for use on commercial aircraft. The ban on new aircraft deliveries however, remains in place.
The move follows the easing of economic sanctions against the country earlier this year, but a Boeing spokesperson told Reuters that the scope of the export licence was “very limited”, only covering parts for old Boeing jets sold to Iran before 1979. Likewise, GE will only be allowed to service 18 engines sold to Iran in the late 1970s.
Iran’s aviation industry has been unable to purchase new Western-built aircraft since the onset of economic sanctions that followed the 1979 revolution. As a result, the country’s fleet of passenger jets largely consists of aging Airbus and Boeing models or Russian-built aircraft.
This has, in part, contributed to Iran’s poor aviation safety record. According to the country’s official IRNA news agency, Iran has suffered more than 2,000 aviation fatalities since 1990. The country’s poor safety regulations however, are also believed to have contributed to this record.
US sanctions were eased earlier this year, following an agreement over Iran’s nuclear development programme. Reuters reported in February that both Boeing and GE had submitted applications to the US government for permission to resume deliveries to Iran.
With the country covering an area of more than 1.6 million square kilometres – more than three times the size of Thailand – aviation plays a key role in Iran’s infrastructure. Currently there are approximately 30 airlines operating in the country.