Iran Air Is Selling Some Of Its Classic Boeing 747s

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Forget about little Cessnas; absolutely nothing exudes success like owning your own 747. Normally, that would be a pricy proposition, but Simple Flying is pleased to draw your attention to some cut-price 747s. Iran Air is auctioning 12 planes, including five Boeing 747s. Bids start at just $4,000. That’s a bargain and well within the price range of your average aspiring airline mogul. Granted, there are a few logistical hurdles to overcome, but we’ll get to those.

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Iran Air has 5 old Boeing 747s going up for sale. Photo: Getty Images

Iran Air to auction 12 planes

Iran Air has a problem. It has lots of planes that are old, but cannot replace because of sanctions. They did try to order new planes a few years ago, but the election of Donald Trump put paid to those plans. Old planes need a lot of maintenance and spare parts to keep flying. The sanctions have halted aircraft spare parts going into Iran. As a result, Iran Air has a stack of planes that sit idle and are gradually falling apart or getting cannibalized. The airline is also short of hard currency. So, someone has come up with the enterprising idea of an auction.

Up for sale are 12 planes. Thomas Newdick from The Drive has an excellent report on the upcoming auction and the background story. He’s also helpfully provided a list of the aircraft going to auction. They include three Airbus A300s, two Airbus A310s, two Boeing 727s, and the five Boeing 747s.

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EP-IAG, the 747-200, still flying in 2013 and now  up for sale. Photo: Rob Hodgkins via Wikimedia Commons

Upgrade your lifestyle with your very own 747

We’re going to focus on the 747s because, let’s face it, at the end of the day, it’s like deciding whether to buy a used Mazda or a look at me Bentley. Most folks will go for the Bentley. For sale is one Boeing 747-100 (EP-IAM), one Boeing 747-200 (EP-IAG), and three Boeing 747-SPs (EP-IAA, EP-IAB, and EP-IAD).

The 747-100 got delivered to Iran Air in 1979; the 747-200 is even older, delivered in 1976. The three SPs started with Iran Air in March 1976, May 1976, and July 1979, respectively. They were all retired between 2012 and 2014. No-one is pretending these planes will be the shinest jets on the tarmac, but underneath the dust and rust, the gloss never fades off the true icons of the aviation world.

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Further, the starting bid price represents an excellent entry-level path into the world of owning a statement plane. It should be pointed out there are a few barriers to overcome.  Most countries, particularly the United States, will not appreciate their citizens buying an ex Iran Air jet. We’re pretty sure it might even be illegal.

Secondly, even if you’re the winning bidder, payment might be an issue. From extensive eBay experience, we know it’s easy to get carried away bidding. But Paypal won’t process Iranian bound payments, nor will Amex or Citibank, and we don’t think Iran Air’s Tehran bank will process a US-issued check.

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This is EP-IAD, one of the 747SPs up for sale and big enough to fly the whole family in comfort. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikimedia Commons

Warning: Iran Air’s old 747s probably not airworthy

Most importantly, it’s questionable whether these planes are airworthy. It might cost a lot more than US$4000 to get them so.  That’s before you deal with the whole issue of getting spare parts, dodging sanctions, and avoiding arrest.

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Even if it were airworthy, you’ve got the whole problem of flying it home; pilots, permissions, the cost … Assuming it’s lightly loaded, you’re looking at an hourly running cost of about US$30,000 for an old gas guzzler like these old 747s.

Then, where are you going to park it? What’s your partner going to say? Buying one of these planes is like a martini fuelled pipedream. The next day it perhaps doesn’t seem so sensible. The value of these planes lies in their scrap, stripping them down and breaking them up. Some enterprising person will buy the 747s for a song and do just that.

In their day, these old Iran Air 747s were grand planes. It will be sad to see them end up broken up. But unless some foolhardy would be 747 owner steps in, that’s what will happen.

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