Iran is expected to privatise 60 per cent of its national carrier Iran Air during the current Iranian year (1389) which ends 21 March 2011.

The Iranian government also plans to fully privatise Iran Air’s subsidiary carrier Iran AirTours under its privatisation programme.

Tehran first announced plans to privatise the airline in early 2009 (MEED 2:3:09).

The government will break up the national carrier into component parts that will be sold off separately.

The Iranian Privatisation Organisation (IPO) will then sell off the airline’s sales, catering, flight handling, supply, cabin crew and maintenance divisions as subsidiaries. Each unit will then be floated on the Tehran Stock Exchange.

Tehran has struggled to attract foreign investment in its infrastructure and particularly its aviation sector due to the US-led embargo.

Iran Air is unable to buy second-hand Airbus or Boeing aircraft to upgrade its ageing fleet due to a Washington-implemented ban.

Iran is scheduled to privatise about 61 companies this year including a number of transportation companies. These companies include railway operator Raja Passenger Trains Company that operates international trains linking Tehran with Istanbul and Damascus, Iranian Oil Terminals Company (IOTC), car manufacturers Iran Khodro and Saipa, Saipa Logistics and Keshtisazi Arvandan Shipping Company.