As Iran emerges from the shadow of international sanctions, and ramps up oil production and other non-oil trade activities, companies from around the world are making a beeline to get a share of the sizeable Iranian pie. Canadian aircraft and train manufacturer Bombardier, Inc. sent a delegation, led by Executive Chairman Pierre Beaudoin, to the Middle East country last week — the Canadian government lifted some sanctions against Iran in February — to try to take advantage of the nation’s lucrative and untapped aviation market.
Beaudoin held talks with officials from the Qeshm Free Zone, on an island in southern Iran, to set up an airline, Bloomberg reported Sunday, citing an unidentified source from the free zone, who said Qeshm officials were keen to close the deal with Bombardier within the next two months.
However, a spokeswoman for the Canadian company told Reuters that while it was in talks to sell aircraft to Iran, reports of it launching a new airline were untrue. Marianella de la Barrera said Sunday she could not specify if the Montreal company was in talks with an Iranian aviation startup for sale of planes, and added that the company’s talks in Iran were progressing.
“We build, market and sell aircraft and trains,” she said, adding: “We are advancing in discussions, we are visiting more often.”
Speaking to Bloomberg, de la Barrera said the company had “identified significant opportunities in the region with regards to commercial aviation sector,” but did not provide any details on the specific contents of the talks held by Beaudoin.
Development of Bombardier’s new passenger jet from its CSeries is already years behind schedule, has run billions of dollars over budget and has won fewer orders compared to its bigger rivals, Boeing and Airbus.