Dubai: Boeing Co is bullish on the Iranian market, believing that the Islamic republic’s self-assessment for new aircraft is accurate.
“We’ve done a pretty good assessment on our side and we think the demand, should things open up, would be very strong,” Marty Bentrott, vice president — sales, Middle East, Russia & Central Asia at Boeing, told reporters in Dubai on Monday at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM).
Iran has been barred by sanctions from buying western aircraft since the 1970s. But negotiations over its nuclear programme with the United States and other world powers that are set to come to close next month have raised hopes that the sanctions will be lifted. Last year, Iran’s top aviation official said the country’s airliners would need to order 400 aircraft over the next 10 years to replace its depleting and ageing fleet.
Bentrott agreed that Iran’s need for new aircraft “would be in that ballpark”.
In April 2014, Boeing was granted a license by the US Treasury Department to sells spare parts for commercial aircraft to Iran. The license has been extended on a number of occasions as the negotiations between Iran and the world powers progressed.
The current licensed permits Boeing to sell spare parts until the end of next month, Bentrott said.
“We still have a license approved by the US government to provide safety of flying and documentation to help the airlines in Iran,” he said.
But license is believed to be narrow in scope and limits the type of discussions Boeing can have with Iranian officials.
“There are still sanctions in place in regards to our ability, the reality is our inability, to market and sell our aircraft to Iran. We are hopeful through the negotiation process that perhaps after the end of June maybe things will be change if there’s an agreement,” Bentrott said.
Asked how much the Iranian sales had generated, he said, “it’s relatively small”.
“We have not done a significant amount of spare part business,” he said.
Last year, Boeing Co. said sales of spare parts to Iran’s national airline, Iran Air, had generated $120,000 (Dh440,750) in revenue and $12,000 in gross profit.
Bentrott also said there is a likelihood Boeing’s license will be renewed if the nuclear negotiations are extended next month.
“Well last time they renewed it when they hadn’t reached an agreement,” he said.