If you’ve ever wanted to own a Boeing 727, 747, Airbus A300 or A310 then now’s your chance. Iran Air is auctioning off its ageing Western fleet but while the prices are fairly affordable, there are several roadblocks to overcome.
At more than $400m apiece, a nearly new Boeing 747 is out of reach for most and owning one is something the majority could only dream of. But in an attempt to reduce its ageing fleet, Iran Air is auctioning off a selection of Western examples for notably low prices.
Within the lot of 12 aircraft, seven examples are Boeings while the remaining five are very early Airbus widebodies. From the American manufacturer, there are three 747SPs, one 747-100, one 747-200 and two 727-200s. As for its European counterpart, buyers have the opportunity to purchase three A300B2s and two A310-200s – a shortened derivative of the company’s first aircraft.
Reserve prices for the ageing airframes range from as low as £7,700 for EP-IRS (c/n 20947), a 727-200, to as high as £20,896 for EP-IAD (c/n 21758) a 41-year-old 747SP.
All the aircraft are very old, in fact, the oldest is EP-IRS which was delivered to the airline brand-new on September 14, 1974. One positive for the collection though is that they have all had one owner since new, apart from the A310s which were previously operated by Turkish Airlines.
If this sounds too good to be true, there are several problems which could beset any would-be jumbo owner if they wanted to bid on them.
The first roadblock is the political situation in Iran. It is likely to be almost impossible to send money to the country because of trade sanctions imposed by the United Nations which prohibits private money transfers between the member states and Iran.
The second major challenge is that the 12 aircraft up for sale are unlikely to be airworthy by Western standards. Most of these airframes have been in storage for many years and won’t be in a state to fly again without a great deal of maintenance work. The jets have also been maintained without proper access to spares because of the trade embargo.
The third challenge for potential owners is the ban of Iran Air’s Boeing 727 and 747 fleet from flying in Europe. In July 2010, the European Commission put the two types on its blacklist meaning they cannot enter the region’s airspace.
Taking this all into account, it seems unlikely that anyone from the West will successfully buy and fly these aircraft. The most probable fate unfortunately for the 12 ageing examples is being broken up for scrap.