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A Look at Boeing’s Historical Deal with the Middle East

When the United States government signed a controversial agreement with Iran early this year, Boeing was anxious to take advantage of the opportunity. With many sanctions lifted, Iran was about to purchase aircraft from Boeing and Airbus to revive their oldest fleet. Iran Air which is based in Tehran has already signed a tentative deal with Airbus to purchase over 100 airplanes in January of this year.

The Boeing Deal

This week Boeing has released the details of the over 25 billion dollar deal which is pending approval by both governments. Iran Air has ordered: 4 747-8, 15 777-9, 15 777-300ER, 6 737NG, 40 737 MAX and is leasing 29 additional 737NGs. This deal would mark the biggest business transaction with Iran since 1979. Boeing still has some hurdles to overcome in order to comply with the U.S. government. Iran is still not authorized to use U.S. currency or enter into U.S. markets, so obtaining the payout is a top priority for airline giant.

The purchase of 747 and 777 models are a nice boost to the sales of those particular airframes. The 777 sales have been decreasing while Boeing is transitioning to the 777X version and the 747 has been on the decline for years because of the lack of demand. The best-selling 737 orders are no surprise as the reliable narrow-body will be a great fit for Iran Air’s domestic and mid-range international destinations.

Iran Air

Iran Air, the flag carrier of the country, had sanctions specifically on them for transporting military equipment for the government which was banned by the United States, however that has since been lifted. U.S. lawmakers are still wary that the airline will conduct malicious activity however it will be closely monitored as they begin to receive their orders.

Iran Air’s fleet consists of just over 40 aged Airbus A300 series and Fokker 100 aircraft while serving over 58 locations, 25 of which are domestic. Destinations include large European cities such as London, Frankfurt and Paris. Also, additional international hotspots such as Moscow, Beijing, Bangkok, and Mumbai. It is currently unclear if new cities will be added once the new airplanes enter service early next year.

An expansion from roughly 40 aircraft to over 100 with the Boeing deal alone, will certainly pull Iran Air out of the shadow of major Middle East carriers. Over the next year, new terminals are expected to be built along with various improvements to prepare for all the new inventory and increased traffic.

While the Iran agreement signed this year has criticized and debated, Boeing knew this was a chance it could not miss. As the final deals are signed and approved by each government, the future of Iran Air will not go unseen.


  • Shane started as an airline geek on the first day that his mother brought him to work with her as a kid at Dulles Airport. Visiting the ground control tower, driving out on the ramp, and even sitting in the engines, he knew this was something awesome. After learning all the aircraft types and collecting countless model planes, he was addicted. After college, Shane worked at the FAA command center and gained in-depth knowledge of the industry he already loved. For over 5 years, he has worked mainly in Information Technology with the Department of Defense and various military organizations, however continues to grow his passion for aviation and the world of flying. Still today he can’t go to the airport without staring out towards the runway or look up to the sounds of something overhead.

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