Iran is in negotiations with Japanese industrial giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to purchase 20 Mitsubishi Regional Jets (MRJs), Iranian Deputy Minister of Road and Urban Development Asghar Fakhrieh Khashan said.
The aircraft will be acquired through a lease-purchase contract and will be used by Aseman Airlines on domestic routes, Fakhrieh Khashan said on Saturday.
The minister said as the Iranian carrier operates in the domestic and provincial flight sector across the country, the MRJ remains a viable option, Iran's Mehr News Agency reported.
The Japanese side has pledged that they will consider Iran’s request for the planes and establish the second joint work group to discuss the issue, he added. The deal is expected to be finished in December when a delegation from Tokyo is scheduled to visit Tehran for the purpose.
The lifting of long-standing economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear activities has allowed it to strike provisional deals worth around $50 billion with Boeing and Airbus to buy some 200 airliners to renew its ageing fleet. However, financial and political obstacles have continued to dog the deals, and Iran has made clear it is widening its search to include other suppliers.
Iran was in talks with several aircraft manufacturers to strengthen its domestic fleets. The country wants to buy small ATR aircraft in order to "activate and economise numerous small airports inside the country", the minister said.