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Iran grounds more Russian planes over safety fears

According to the ISNA, the managing director of the country’s Airports Company, Mohammad Ali Ilkhani, on Monday said President Hassan Rouhani has ordered that all Antonov-74 passenger planes be grounded. The ban follows a ban on Antonov-140 aircraft, one of which crashed on August 10, killing 39 people on board. In six accidents since 2002 involving the Russian-designed Antonov-140, hundreds of Iranians have been killed. Since the 1979 revolution, around 1,800 people have been killed in Iranian air accidents, half of them involving Russian-designed aircraft. Iranian airlines use Antonovs that are constructed jointly by Iran and Ukraine but follow the original Russian design. Following sanctions, Iran turned to Russian aircraft because of the difficulty securing spare parts for American planes. Many of these Russian planes are aged, such as the 20 Tu-154 passenger jets still flying out of Iran even though the plane is no longer manufactured in Russia. The International Air Transport Association has previously drawn attention to Iran’s poor air safety record, citing the age of aircraft, the quality of maintenance and the inefficiency of airline companies as potential hazards. To counter these concerns, some Iranian airlines, such as Mahan, which has an arrangement with a Turkish company, are renting aircraft that are maintained by foreign companies.

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