TEHRAN: Iran has ordered 50 planes from Brazil’s Embraer, the world’s third biggest commercial aircraft manufacturer, in its latest move to modernise its ageing fleet, the government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Like other orders since the lifting of sanctions on January 16 under a nuclear deal with world powers, it will be a hire purchase contract, spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said.

“The government is not going to spend its limited resources on things like buying planes,” the judiciary’s Mizan news service quoted him as saying.

Iran has already announced orders for up to 40 planes from ATR, the European manufacturer of turboprop aircraft, and a contract for the purchase of 118 Airbus aircraft, to be delivered over the next four years.

ATR is co-owned by Airbus and Italian aerospace group Finmeccanica.

The Airbus deal — for 73 long-haul and 45 medium-haul aircraft — is worth $10 to $11 billion, Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan, a deputy transport minister said.

It too is a hire purchase deal, the government spokesman said.

It includes orders for 15 long-haul A350 aircraft.

About 80 to 85 per cent of the financing will come from Airbus and European banks, Iran Air’s CEO Farhad Parvaresh told reporters.

“We are not going to inject any special domestic rial funds for the purchase of these planes,” the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying on Saturday.

An Airbus A350 XWB returning to France from the Singapore Airshow landed briefly at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport on Saturday so Iran Air technicians could inspect it up close, IRNA reported.

Before sanctions were lifted, Iran’s aviation industry had been subject to a US embargo since 1995 that prevented Western manufacturers from selling it equipment or spare parts.

The embargo hindered maintainance operations and grounded part of Iran’s ageing fleet — which currently comprises 140 working aircraft, with an average age of about 20 years.

Iran needs 400 to 500 aircraft over the next decade to modernise its fleet, the head of the Iranian Civil Aviation Authority has said.