In an unsurprising move, Iran and Russia have agreed to cooperate to thwart sanctions targeting aircraft parts and repairs. Iran’s MEHR news agency reported on July 26 that Iran and Russia signed a cooperation agreement on parts and repairs and also agreed to increase flights between the two countries.
Since the announcement, several reports have emerged about the depth of the cooperation and precisely what it entails. To clarify, according to the MEHR website, here is what Mir-Akbar Razavi, spokesperson for Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization (CAO), said:
“It was also decided to sign a cooperation agreement with Russia with a view to providing the possibility of exporting parts and equipment manufactured in Iran to Russia as well as carrying out repair and maintenance services and a technical support of Russian aircraft by Iranian repair centers”.
Iran keeps its Airbus fleet flying, so can it help Russia do the same?
Iran Air has two eight-year-old Airbus A330-200s that it manages to fly despite Western sanctions. Photo: Getty Images
While the statement refers to “Russian aircraft”, it does not explicitly mention Airbus and Boeing aircraft, although this is reported. This is not a new concept, as on March 23, MEHR said Russian Federation Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev outlined how his country would use the Iranian experience to circumvent sanctions to overcome challenges regarding purchase of spare parts for the Russian aircraft industry. . Savelev also said that “Russia was guided by Iran’s experience on how to maintain aircraft in a similar situation.”
Although Iran may not be an aviation power, it has managed to keep some older Western aircraft in service, despite sanctions similar to those imposed on Russia. Taking Iran Air as an example, ch-aviation.com data shows 43 aircraft in its fleet with an average age of 25 years. This average is distorted by one Airbus A321-200, two A330-200s and 13 ATR 72-600s, with an average age of around six years. The rest of the fleet ranges from 20 to 42 years old, the oldest being an Airbus A300B2 and the youngest an Airbus A319-100. It’s been operating the A321 and A330 for a while, so there’s some expertise there, in addition to making parts or getting them through other means.
Iran and Russia have also signed a memorandum of understanding to increase the number of passenger flights between the two countries to 35 per week. Razavi said the memorandum of understanding was reached between Russia’s deputy transport minister and CAO chief Mohammad Mohammadi-Bakhsh. There are currently five flights per week, two each operated by Russian companies Aeroflot and Nordwind Airlines and one by Iran’s Mahan Air. There is no capacity limitation on cargo flights.
Conviasa launches direct flights between Venezuela and Iran
Venezuela and Iran are now connected by a direct Caracas-Tehran flight operated by Conviasa Airlines. Data:
According to a MEHR report yesterday, direct flights between Iran and Venezuela began on Sunday, when Venezuelan flag carrier Conviasa Airlines flight VO3750 from Caracas landed in Tehran. Data from Flightradar24.com shows the flight operated by an Airbus A340-642, registration YV-3535, which took off from Simón Bolivar International Airport (CCS). After a 13-hour flight, he landed at Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) in Tehran at 12:56 p.m. on July 30 and will return to Caracas at 2:45 a.m. today. Yesterday, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Gharaei Ashtiani met with Venezuelan Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Water and Air Transport and President of Conviasa Airlines, Ramón Velásquez. The statement said that “both parties are committed to broadening and deepening relations between the two countries, and the direct flight between Iran and Venezuela was an important and valuable step.”
If Russia starts using unauthorized parts and maintenance from Iran, is that the end for Western planes stranded in Russia?