(Adds quotes, details)
PARIS/DUBAI Jan 8 Airbus said on
Sunday Iran's state airline IranAir had accepted its first new
jet, marking a key step in opening up trade under a nuclear
sanctions deal between Iran and major powers.
The Airbus A321 jetliner has been painted in IranAir livery
and is expected to be delivered later this week.
"The technical acceptance has been done with formal delivery
still to be done," a spokesman for the European planemaker said.
Iranian regulators said the aircraft had been placed on the
country's aircraft register, indicating IranAir had taken
ownership of the aircraft: the first of around 200 Western
aircraft ordered since sanctions were lifted.
"The registration has been done, and the delivery should be
by the end of the week," Reza Jafarzadeh, a spokesman for Iran's
Civil Aviation Organization, told Reuters by telephone.
The 189-seat jet was assembled in Hamburg, Germany. From
there, it is expected to be transferred to Airbus headquarters
in Toulouse, France, for a formal handover on Wednesday.
IranAir Chairman Farhad Parvaresh told state news agency
IRNA there would be an official ceremony to mark the arrival of
the Airbus jetliner in Tehran later this week.
IranAir has ordered 100 passenger jets from Airbus and 80
from its U.S. rival Boeing under the nuclear deal, which
called for the lifting of most international sanctions in
exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear activities.
Boeing also agreed last year to arrange the leasing of a
further 29 aircraft.
IranAir is also negotiating a final agreement with European
turbo-prop maker ATR. The company, joint-owned by Airbus and
Italy's Leonardo, has provisionally agreed to supply
20 of its 70-seat regional planes with options for a further 20.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher and Dubai newsroom; Editing by GV De
Clercq and Mark Potter)