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PARIS (AP) — Airbus and Iran Air finalized Thursday a deal for 100 planes worth more than $18 billion dollars at list prices — a contract that's potentially a big boost for Iran's post-sanctions economy.
Under the terms of the deal, which was initially announced in January, Airbus said deliveries are expected to begin early next year.
The contract includes single-aisle A320 and A330 jets and wide-body A350 XWB planes.
As well as further modernizing Iran's aging aviation fleet, which has been hobbled by years of sanctions, the deal is a boon to Airbus too as Iran's flag carrier had finalized a deal for 80 jetliners from U.S. plane maker Boeing Co. — Airbus' key rival — earlier this month. In addition to providing the planes, Airbus is to help Iran Air with pilot training, assist with airport operations and air traffic management.
The Boeing agreement was the biggest Iran has struck with an American company since the 1979 revolution and U.S. Embassy takeover. The Boeing planes are scheduled to start arriving in 2018.
The deals were made possible after the U.S. and other world powers agreed last year to lift the sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear activities.
"We hope this success signals to the world that the commercial goals of Iran and its counterparts are better achieved with international cooperation and collaboration," Iran Air Chairman and CEO Farhad Parvarsh was quoted as saying of the Airbus deal.
Parvarsh told the semi-official IRNA news agency that 11 of the airplanes will be delivered to Iran Air in 2017.
A report on Iranian state TV said the deal covers 46 A320 planes, 38 A330s and 16 A350s.
President-elect Donald Trump and several Republican lawmakers have criticized the nuclear deal, but it's unclear whether they would scrap it.
Most of Iran's aging fleet of 250 commercial planes was purchased before 1979, and as of June only 162 were operational, with the rest grounded because of a lack of spare parts. Iran has said it is looking to buy 400 passenger planes over the next decade.
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