Airbus regional director:

Silence best strategy of Airbus on ambiguities of Iran Air deal

News ID: 3874312 -
TEHRAN, Jan. 11 (MNA) – Despite the need for compensation payment to Iran in case sanctions are reapplied, Airbus Middle East Regional Director Fouad Attar uses silence as the best tactic in the face of present uncertainties in Airbus-Iran Air contract.

With almost one year after implementation of the nuclear deal between Iran and the 5+1 group of countries and promises made by Iranian officials that restrictions on various economic sectors have been removed, the first out of one hundred Airbus aircraft is slated to land in Iran tomorrow on Thursday January 12. The airplane, which is of Airbus A321 type, will leave Hamburg Airport for Toulouse Blagnac Airport and will depart France tomorrow before arriving at Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport at 14:30.

Piecemeal delivery of aircraft to Iran begins as of tomorrow while the delay in issuance of OFAC license casted doubts to achieving a final agreement between the two parties for several times. According to the preliminary schedule, eight Airbus planes were to be delivered to Iran in 2016 though the process was postponed to 2017 and the first aircraft is arriving in Tehran only half-way through January 2017.

Nevertheless, Airbus enjoys better conditions than Boeing for sales of aircraft to Iran since a larger number of Airbus airplanes have received necessary finances as well as that the French company has agreed to undertake financing of 19 aircraft.

If truth be told, 42 out of 100 Airbus aircraft and only 5 out of Boeing airplanes have received financial resources and estimations reveal that the Airbus contract will enjoys a smoother implementation than that of Boeing.

The significance of delivery methods for 100 Airbus products, financing issues and required warrantees for repayment of installments not to mention arrival of the first Airbus A321 all paved the way for an exclusive interview with Fouad Attar, Managing Director of Airbus Middle East in a bid to shed light on certain details of the deal which, so far, have not received media coverage.

Fouad Attar, in his interview with Mehr New Agency, stressed that his companies contract with Iran had become finalized. The official however left a number of questions unanswered using a sparkling wittiness and on the account that the provisions of the contract were ‘confidential’. One of the questions that remained unresolved pertained to venues for paying compensation to Iran in case International sanctions against Iran were reapplied.

The deal predicted delivery of 8 passenger planes by the end of 2016; however, no such delivery became realized; apart from OFAC permissions, what other problems would be at work?

Now that OFAC licenses have been granted to us and that we have signed a firm contract with Iran air, consequently we will now start preparing for delivery. We are looking forward to deliver Iran Air’s first aircraft on 11 January 2017.

How Iran would receive 100 remaining planes by 2024; when would Iran receive the first of the planes?

We are pleased to announce that a delivery ceremony for the first Aircraft is now planned for 11 January 2017. More details to come in due course.

Which financial institutions and banks will finance the purchase deal?

These financial details are customer confidential.

Iran and Airbus have reportedly signed an MoU which allows Iran to receive license from Airbus to develop some specific spare parts. Would you elaborate more on this?

In parallel of initial commitment signed in January 2016 in Paris, we have also signed with Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development, a comprehensive co-operation agreement as part of the country’s modernization of its civil aviation sector, to support the development of air navigation services (ATM), airport and aircraft operations, regulatory harmonization, technical and academic training, maintenance, repair and industrial cooperation.

What will be the mechanism for payment and other liabilities Iran has to Airbus?

Payment mechanism is the same as for all our customers, in full compliances with applicable laws & regulations including with the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action).

What guarantees and measures have been considered to prevent any delay or lack of payments?

We do not discuss or comment on contractual details.

What sort of additional services would Iran Air be eligible to provide in Airbus planes (for passenger welfare, for example)?

We are delighted that Iran air has decided to modernize and build its fleet with Airbus products, the firm contract of 100 aircraft spans from Airbus’ single-aisle A320 Family to the wide body A330 Family and the A350 XWB. This will provide Iranian flag carrier with a modern, highly efficient fleet capable of meeting its full air transport needs – from regional routes to high-density, long-haul operations.

Airbus cabins are designed to offer passengers and airlines the highest levels of comfort, services and efficiency. All Airbus aircraft – from the single-aisle to the wide body family – are designed for today’s comfort standards, benefiting travelers and the airlines that carry them. 

How many planes would be delivered to Iran within the deadline set by OFAC?

Our agreement with Iran air covers 46 A320 Family, 38 A330 Family and 16 A350 XWB aircraft, first aircraft delivery is planned for January 11th 2017.

Would Iran-Airbus agreement be called a binding deal or is it still a deal on paper? If it is still on paper, when would a binding final deal be expected?

Yes, the deal with Iran Air is a binding deal, we have signed a firm contract for 100 aircraft and the first delivery is planned for 11 January 2017.

If sanctions snap back, Boeing will return back Iran the net amount of money plus the interests accrued. Is there any such article in deals with Airbus as well?

Airbus coordinates closely with regulators in the EU, US and elsewhere to ensure understanding and full compliance with the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). We do not discuss or comment on contractual details.

Why in the deal with Airbus, wide-body A380 is missing from the list?

As Airbus we are proud to be offering a full family of aircraft per size category and generally overtime we see a strong global trend for customers sizing up their commitments.

Fouad Attar joined Airbus Middle East in 2006 as Deputy President - head of commercial. He graduated from the Ecole Nationale Superieure de L’Aeronautique et de l’Espace (Sup’Aero) as an aeronautical engineer and holds a business and management degree from IAE Toulouse. Attar started his career at Airbus in 1984 as a flight simulator engineer at the Airbus Training Centre in Toulouse. With over 25 years of aviation experience, Attar has considerable aviation industry experience and has contributed to the growth of the sector in the region.

Interview by Zohreh Alami, Hamid Reza Gholamzadeh

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