(Updates with details of the Iran-140 in last paragraph.)
Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Iran, the target of sanctions that frustrate the country’s efforts to modernize its aging aircraft fleet, is trying to strike a deal with Ukraine for the joint production of regional passenger planes.
Iran plans to build Antonov-158s because the twin-jet aircraft suits its needs, said Manouchehr Manteqi, managing director of the state-run Aviation Industries Organization, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
Ukraine’s Antonov company has given technological assistance to Iran for the production of small aircraft and the two countries aim to build commercial planes together, Manteqi told Iranian journalists in Tehran yesterday after a meeting with Ukrainian officials. The Antonov-158, a bigger version of the Antonov-148, can carry as many as 99 passengers, he said.
Iran has been trying to renew its fleet of foreign-built jetliners, which it operates amid political obstacles to the purchase of new planes and spare parts from suppliers such as Chicago-based Boeing Co. and Toulouse, France-based Airbus SAS.
The country is under four rounds of United Nations Security Council sanctions because of its nuclear work, which the U.S. and its allies accuse of being a cover for developing weapons. The U.S. stepped up its punitive measures against Iran last year, targeting foreign suppliers of aviation fuel and other refined-oil products.
Iran and Ukraine are already jointly building Iran-140s, which are used inside the Persian Gulf country for short flights, Manteqi said, according to IRNA.
Iran built its first Iran-140 passenger plane, which can hold 52 passengers, in 2003 after purchasing the production license for the Antonov-140 from Ukraine in 2000, according to a report today by state-run Press TV. The aircraft is being manufactured by Iran’s Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Co., the Ukrainian company said on its website.
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