Iranian flags are seen at a petrol station in Tehran, Iran, January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA
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In December 2012, aircraft trader James Kim received a letter from a company based in Cyprus offering to buy four jetliners.After the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions on Jan. 16, Iran's aviation industry is coming out of the shadows.Vatankhah spent 31 years helping to maintain an ancient fleet at state-owned Iranair including the world's oldest passenger 747, built in 1976 before the majority of Iranians were born, according to aviation consultancy CAPA, which organized an aviation summit in Iran in January.One Iranian airline official, who asked not to be identified, said he had obtained a Western-built engine weeks after it left the factory by passing it through three countries.Iran says it has been forced to use the black market to preserve safety following fatal accidents and sanctions that prevented it from gaining access to parts and manuals.The can-do mentality which kept Iran's rotting fleet flying through sanctions will be less welcome in future.Even with sanctions lifted, airlines may struggle to get some existing aircraft repaired while waiting for the new European jets, to which Iran hopes to add over 100 Boeings.
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