European aviation giant ATR says it is close to a final agreement with Iran to sell turboprop planes to the country – a new move which is expected to further boost the Iranian aviation might.
ATR Chief Executive Christian Scherer was quoted by the media as saying that his company had completed commercial negotiations with Iran’s flag carrier airline Iran Air for the sale of at least 20 planes.
Scherer added that a contract to the same effect would be signed “very soon”.
“We have concluded the negotiations and we should sign the contract imminently,” Scherer was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Iran Air and ATR have spent months negotiating a firm order for 20 planes worth €540 million ($576 million) at list prices, with options for another 20.
Both sides signed a basic agreement last February to go ahead with the purchase order.
The planes were reported at the time to be the twin-engine turboprop ATR 72-600 aircraft each capable of carrying 70 passengers.
Last week, Iran’s Deputy Transport Minister Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan said a deal with ATR - which is co-owned by Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo Finmeccanica - would be signed “within days”.
Fakhrieh-Kashan emphasized that five of the planes would be delivered to Iran by April.
He also added that all ATR aircraft would be used on domestic flight routes.
Iran signed contracts with European plane maker Airbus and American aviation giant Boeing in December to purchase around 180 jets.
The country received the first Airbus plane – an A321 – in early January with officials saying that more deliveries would be made within the next few months.
Boeing’s first deliveries are expected in 2018.