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Airline battle brews in Persian Gulf as Iran eyes regional hub role

Big jet order sends signal to regional rivals that it aims to compete for transit passengers

BIG PLANS: Iran signed a deal in Paris last week for 118 Airbus jets, and contracts to expand the main Teheran airport, during the visit of President Rouhani (standing, left).


AN economic battle is likely for dominance of the skies over the Persian Gulf after Iran decided to invest US$27 billion in an airline fleet capable of taking on the region's supercarriers.

By ordering dozens of long-distance European jets last month after the lifting of