Iran Air is selling 12 aircraft, you won’t believe the prices

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.

Boeing 741
This Boeing 747-100, EP-IAM (c/n 21759) has a reserve price set at £19,200. Aviation Image Network/Simon Gregory

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.

This Airbus A300B2 entered service with Iran Air on March 21, 1982. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

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. 

Manufacturer Variant Registration C/n Age Reserve Price
Airbus A300B2 EP-IBT 185 39 £13,000
Airbus A300B2 EP-IBV 187 39 £11,500
Airbus A300B2 EP-IBZ 226 38 £17,000
Airbus A310-200 EP-IBN 375 35 £15,800
Airbus A310-200 EP-IBQ 389 35 £16,700
Boeing 727-200 EP-IRR 20946 46 £7,700
Boeing 727-200 EP-IRS 20947 46 £8,700
Boeing 747-100 EP-IAM 21759 41 £19,200
Boeing 747-200 EP-IAG 21217 44 £16,000
Boeing 747SP EP-IAA 20998 45 £17,800
Boeing 747SP EP-IAB 20999 44 £20,100
Boeing 747SP EP-IAD 21758 41 £20,800

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.

The Boeing 727s are the oldest aircraft in the lot at 46-years-old. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

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 three 747SPs are the most expensive airframes up for auction. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

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 A310s are the youngest up for auction at just 35-years-old. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

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.