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A310s for Iran Airtour

Iranian airline opts for ancient Airbus model

Iranian airlines can't get new planes anymore. Iran Airtour therefore strengthens its position with two Airbus A310s.

The much-needed fleet modernization in Iranian aviation didn’t last long. After relaxing sanctions by the West, the airlines in Iran ordered more than 200 aircraft from Airbus, ATR and Boeing. When Iran Air took delivery of its first Airbus A321 the year before last, it was the first time in 37 years that the airline had flown in a brand new western passenger jet.

But after just eleven aircraft, it was over again. U.S. President Donald Trump cancelled the export licenses last year and thus denied Iran the purchase of new aircraft. Since then, some younger second-hand aircraft have made it to the country. Otherwise the Iranian airlines will have to keep their heads above water with planes that are considered obsolete in western countries.

Second oldest Airbus model

At Iran Airtour this leads now to an unusual premiere. The airline recently acquired its first two Airbus A310s. As aviation database CH Aviation reports, these are to go there «soon» into service. Both aircraft will be equipped with 250 seats. One aircraft apparently comes from Mahan Air and used to fly for Emirates and Lufthansa. Where the other aircraft flew before remains unclear.

The A310 was already considered outdated when the last of a total of 255 aircraft were delivered in 1998. The A310 is the shorter long-haul version of the very first Airbus A300. Both models were Airbus’ first and last aircraft without completely electronic flight control, with control horns and analogue displays in the cockpit.

A310 soon only in the Middle East

Apart from a few military and government planes, the A310 has almost disappeared in western spheres. Only Canadian carrier Air Transat still uses six of these aircraft. Next year, however, they will be replaced by Airbus A321 LRs. Then only about twenty of them will be used as passenger aircraft – all in the Middle East. With eleven A310s, Mahan Air of Iran is currently the largest operator of the A310.

Iran Airtour wants to attract fewer nostalgics with its fleet growth than the aircraft have chosen due to a lack of alternatives. As a small consolation, however, the airline can integrate the A310 almost seamlessly into its existing fleet. It has also used the A310 before.

 Average age of fleet 26 years

Iran Airtour already two Airbus A300-600R. She wants to reactivate three mothballed A300s in the next few weeks. According to information from Iran, pilots are already being trained. In addition, the airline has an A320 and five McDonnell Douglas MD-82 and MD-83. The average age of the fleet is 26 years.

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