Following the lifting of international sanctions against Iran on Saturday, January 16, so Iranian Minister of Transport Abbas Akhoundi has announced plans to acquire up to 114 aircraft from Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) for IranAir (IR, Tehran Mehrabad).

Expanding on Akhoundi's comments, internal Iranian government sources who spoke to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity said the deal involves A320 and A340 Family jets with finalization due in the next few weeks. The first aircraft could be delivered as early as July, they said.

In the long term, Iran Air is also looking at the A350, the A380-800, as well as the B737 and B777 from Boeing (BOE, Washington National), to serve the Iranian diaspora in North America, Australia, and Europe, the sources added.

At present, Iran Air operates four A300-600s, five A300B1/B2/B4s, two A300B4(F)/C4/F4s, two A310-300s, six A320-200s, one B747-200(F), three B747-200(M)s, one B747SP, fourteen Fokker 100s, and five MD-82s all with an average age of 26.3 years.

The United States imposed sanctions on Iran in the wake of the 1979 revolution and the subsequent US Embassy hostage crisis in Tehran. For over three decades, Iranian airlines have been unable to legally source aircraft younger than twenty years of age or manufacturer-endorsed spare parts for their respective fleets. Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhundi, last estimated that the country's carriers would require at least 500 new aircraft over the next five years to replenish and upgrade their fleets.