Iran’s industry minister has criticized the “graveyard of grounded airplanes” at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport, calling on Iranian firms to do something about it.
Abbas Aliabadi, the minister of industry, mines and trade, made the remarks during an event on Thursday, saying that knowledge-based companies must try to make Iran “a hub for technology in the region.”
"At Mehrabad Airport, there is a graveyard of grounded airplanes. When we inquire about the reason, they say these airplanes have technical issues due to sanctions, such as lacking engines,” he said.
He said about 9,000 knowledge-based companies have been registered in the country, but the number of active groups is less than 70 companies. Since Khamenei included the adjective “knowledge-based” in the motto of the previous Iranian year (which ended March 20), the most important thing that occurred is that many companies redesigned or reintroduced themselves as such to take advantage of loans and incentives available from the government.
According to Alireza Barkhor, the deputy chairman of the Association of Iranian Airlines, more than 50 percent of Iran’s passenger planes are grounded due to lack of spare parts, particularly engines. Mohammad Mohammadi-Bakhsh, the Head of the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization, revealed that from Iran's 330 registered passenger planes, 139 are currently out of service.
Decades-long sanctions have inhibited Iran's ability to procure passenger aircraft and related equipment from international markets, leading to an aging national aviation fleet.
Iran has suffered from shortages of civilian airliners since the 1990s and used a variety of ways to lease older planes or buy spare parts through intermediaries, but the technical state of its fleet has been deteriorating.
The 2015 nuclear agreement (JCPOA) suspended sanctions on purchases of Western aircraft and Iran began talks to buy new planes from Boeing and Airbus. A few airbus planes were delivered but the Trump administration never approved sale of US planes until Washington withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions.