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Steven Frischling
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Fish has been covering aviation and transportation security issues since September 15, 2001, after walking away from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan following four days of documenting the worst aviation security disaster in history.

Having spent more than a decade-and-a-half as a full-time photojournalist, Fish now divides his time between building social media and social commerce strategies and solutions for global travel brands, along with researching aviation and transportation security.

Growing up at the end up New York's JFK International Airport's Runway 4R/22L probably explains Fish’s enjoyment of watching planes fly overhead. When not working or shooting photos, Fish can be found playing with (and cleaning up after) his three kids, chasing his dogs, standing in the kitchen cooking, monitoring radios public safety and federal radios and of course cheering for the Red Sox.

You can find Fish on Twitter at @flyingwithfish …and … join Fish every Thursday at 3:30pm EST as he hosts the weekly #TNI #Travel Chat on Twitter.

Yet Again Iran Air Modernizes Its Fleet Despite Sanctions

Iran Air has masterfully kept an aging fleet in the air, despite economic and politics sanctions that prohibit the airline from dealing directly with Boeing and Airbus to maintain and update their aircraft.


With strict sanctions in place, Iran Air has previously found ways to update its fleet, most recently in October 2010 when it began replacing aging Soviet era Tupolev TU-154s, operated by Iran Air Tours, with Boeing MD-80s aircraft Iran Air Tour’s ‘new’ Boeing MD-80 aircraft were all acquired from China Southern Airlines, but indirectly through an intermediary in the Ukraine to get around economic and political roadblocks.


Now as Iran Air moves towards being a privatized airline, focused on modernization and profitability, the company is updating its fleet of nine aging Boeing 747SP, 747-100 and 747-200 aircraft.  Seven of Iran Air’s 747s were delivered directly from Boeing between October 1976 and January 1982, with two additional aircraft being purchased through intermediaries following sanctions against Iran being established.   An aging fleet, no matter how masterfully maintained, is problematic … especially when an airline is unable to acquire parts from the aircraft manufacturer, which has caused Iran Air to aggressively seek options to update its fleet.


Iran Air will begin replacing one Boeing 747-186B, first flying on February 8th 1979, and two 747-286B aircraft, first flying on March 14th 1977 and November 1st 1982, with three Boeing 747-338, all originally delivered to Australia’s Qantas Airways between March 1985 and April 1987.    These three aircraft have been acquired from Al Sayegh Airlines, a UAE owned airline, with no flight operations, that is based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.


The first Boeing 747-338 to join Iran Air first flew on the 19th of March 1986; the following two 747-338 aircraft will join the airline in May.


The arrival of the ‘new’ 747s into Iran Air’s fleet will come with some challenges. The airline is familiar with maintaining their 747 fleet’s Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines without support from Boeing or Pratt and Whitney, however these new aircraft are equipped with Rolls Royce RB-211 engines, an engine not found in Iran Air’s fleet.


For an airline that is cut off from primary technology, financial and support resources, Iran Air continually moves forward and establishes itself as a viable airline without signs of faltering.  It will be interesting to see how the airline advances forward next.


Happy Flying!




One Response

  1. The maintenance of the RB211 is going to be a challenge if the UK tightens up sanctions. I noticed these are -300 aircraft although similar to the -200s there are challenges in getting some peculiar spares.

    As a means of providing better and safer services domestically of a Qatar Airways tie up with Iran Air for QR to operate an additional 31 fkights to a total of 51 flights a week domestically and into Doha. However, I think political fallout from the events in Syria may preclude this.


    How successful this modernization remains to be seen.

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