Iran Air has reportedly refurbished one of its Boeing 747 planes. With the impending cessation of the US-led arms embargo, Iran is proceeding with its plans to expand its aviation capabilities.
The airline accomplished the feat using local engineers only, showcasing its self-sufficiency. As one of several Boeing 747 planes in the carrier’s fleet, it appears the other planes are still up for sale as announced two weeks ago.
Refurbishing a 747
According to Iran’s Mehr News Agency, Iran Air has completed the refurbishment works on its remaining Boenig 747-200. The aircraft, registered EP-ICD, is a 32-year-old model and has been in service with Iran Air since 2008.
The refurbishment project is the first time in six years that the airline has conducted repair works on its Boeing 747 fleet. The project was notably worked on exclusively by Iranian engineering experts as a show of self-sufficiency in the face of economic sanctions.
Foreign engineers and carriers are reluctant to do dealings with Iran Air due to the embargo. In a statement, Iran Air said,
“Nevertheless, with the efforts of Iranian engineers, we have been able to carry out all repairs.”
With Iran Air’s mammoth $9.5 billion Boeing 777X and $25 billion Airbus orders seemingly dead in the water, the airline may be exploring more economically viable options including more refurbishment projects.
What will the 747 be used for?
According to the airline, this particular 747-200 model is intended as a “cargo-only” plane. Tehran claims the plane has already made vital contributions to the nation, transporting aid during floods and flying crucial supplies in the fight against COVID-19. In the near future, Iran Air has claimed the plane will conduct flights to and from the UAE.
Plans for Iran Air’s other 747 planes look less promising. While they have been put up for sale, most experts speculate they are too old to ever restore to working order again. Instead, they are likely to be used for their scrap value and taken apart. With a number of rare models in their 747 fleet, aviation enthusiasts will be sad to see them go.
A history of the Boeing 747-200
The plane is a 32-year old Boeing 747-200 variant delivered to the company fairly recently in 2008. This particular model is almost entirely out of service globally, with just a few freighters currently in operation. In its heyday, the versatile plane was a reliable combi aircraft used for both passenger and cargo operations.
The 747-200 model was first introduced to the world in 1971, offering improved engines and fuel capacity. Iran Air was the last airline to utilize it as a passenger carrier, retiring the plane back in 2016. Production of 747-200s by Boeing ceased in 1991 after seeing action with many of the world’s leading airlines, including KLM and British Airways.
How comfortable would you be flying on an aging 747? Will Iran Air attempt to restore other planes in their 747 fleet?