Boeing, Iran airlines in talks on new aircraft sales

[NEW YORK] US aerospace giant Boeing expressed caution on Monday after executives held talks in Iran on providing new aircraft to Iranian carriers last week.

Two months after getting permission from the US government to explore resuming sales to Iran as sanctions are eased on the country, the company said it used the meetings to understand what Iran's airlines needed and the capabilities of its aircraft after decades of being cut off from US suppliers.

"Boeing discussed the capabilities of its commercial passenger airplanes and after-market services with Iranian airlines approved by the US government," Boeing spokesman John Dern told AFP.

The meetings "enabled us to better understand the status of their current fleets, their route structures, and their plans for future operations."

After US sanctions on Iran were partially lifted in January following a deal on its nuclear programme, Boeing was given permission by the US Treasury to explore the market.

However, it has already been beaten to the punch by Airbus, which has had far more freedom since the sanctions were removed to seek deals with Tehran. Airbus secured a deal to sell Iran 118 planes for about US$25 billion.

Mr Dern said that Boeing still needs Washington's approval to conclude any deals with the country, which remains under terror-related sanctions from the United States.

"With regards to our initial meetings with Iranian airlines, we understand that the situation in the region is complicated and ever changing and we will continue to follow any updated US government guidance," he said.



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