Iran reaffirmed that it may not proceed with purchasing A380 superjumbo jets from Airbus, raising questions over part of a landmark deal with the European planemaker.
“We have freedom to choose … we have no obligation and commitment to buy A380 planes,” said Iran’s Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi.
“This is part of a five-year plan for Iran’s aviation … and the Iranian official in charge of buying such planes will decide then,” Reuters has quoted Akhoundi as saying.
The order for the double-decker jetliners grabbed attention in January as part of a preliminary deal signed in Paris for 118 Airbus planes worth $27 billion. Iran has also provisionally agreed to buy or lease 109 Boeing jets.
Reuters reported on Monday, however, that Tehran was having second thoughts about whether to take delivery of the order for a dozen A380 superjumbo jets.
“We always made clear this is an option,” an Iranian official told Reuters, asking not to be identified.
“It is possible to switch to other models,” the official added.
In January, Iran signed a major deal worth over $27 billion for the purchase of 118 planes from Airbus. The deal – which is yet to be finalized – was signed during a landmark trip to Paris by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
An industry source familiar with the region previously told Reuters that Iran was committed to the rest of the order.
Another Iranian official said main obstacles to completing the full order were remaining US financial sanctions.
Others said the A380 part of the order, worth $5.2 billion at list prices, can be canceled or amended without penalty under the contract before Airbus starts building the jets.
To the same effect, Iran announced in February that it will replace A380 Airbus planes with A350 planes if the conditions for their delivery are not met as agreed.