June 22, 2024

Columbus Post

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Despite sanctions: Ex-Austrian Airbus A340s on their way to Iran

Despite sanctions: Ex-Austrian Airbus A340s on their way to Iran

You flew for about ten years for Austrian Airlines and then for the French Air Force. Two Airbus A340-200 aircraft have arrived in Iran via a detour route.

If you wanted to experience aviation in the 1980s and 1990s, you had to go to the Near East. Iranian aircraft carriers are obsolete due to US and other Western sanctions. For example, the oldest aircraft in private Mahan Air’s fleet is a nearly 37-year-old Airbus A300-600 that flies domestic routes daily.

In addition, a shortage of spare parts keeps half of all Iranian machines on the ground. With a national airline, the ratio is significantly higher. According to the Aviation Data Portal CH Aviation Almost two-thirds of Iran Air’s fleet is currently non-operational. The airline does not receive original spare parts for Airbus, ATR and Boeing aircraft. And the black market is also in short supply.

Iran buys planes through shell companies

So Tehran repeatedly buys used planes with the help of foreign shell companies. It was only in December that four Airbus A340-300s were mysteriously put into service by Turkish Airlines for a long time. The machines are young, but they are not, their average age is 27 years.

Now the country has secured two more long-distance seniors Aviation Line reported. These are two Airbus A340-200s that were delivered to Austrian Airlines in 1995 and have been part of the Austrian fleet for about ten years. They then remained in service with the French Air Force until December 2020. Subsequently, French support and maintenance company LMO Aero purchased two four-jet engines.

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From Indonesia to Iran

LMO Aero ended in 2022 and the company sold both jets to a company from Mali. The machines are registered in the African country as TZ-DTA and TZ-DTC. According to journalist Babak Taghwe, the Malian company is the flagship of Iranian Mahan Air.

The two Airbus A340s remained grounded at Kerdajat Airport, west of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, until May 23. The authorities then approved the launch of the machines with the target Mali. However, they never made it to West Africa, instead reportedly landing in the Iranian port city of Sabahar on the Gulf of Oman.

Last examples of their kind

According to AviationLine, Mahan Air executive Mahdi Makfouri personally received both planes in Mali. Meanwhile, according to satellite images, they have stopped at Tehran Mehrabad Airport. If they do indeed go into regular service in the future, they will be the last and only examples of the model still in operation.