An Airbus A380 is seen on the production line at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, January 13, 2011. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
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An economic battle is likely for dominance of the skies over the Gulf after Iran decided to invest $27 billion in an airline fleet capable of taking on the Middle East region's supercarriers.The move is underscored by Tehran's choice of the Airbus A380, which is the world's largest jetliner and is used by other Gulf carriers, and sends a political warning to Iran's neighbors not to ignore the Islamic Republic's emergence from isolation. The only serious regional competitor to Gulf carriers for now is Turkish Airlines.Already 28 foreign carriers serve Iran and more are likely to arrive, CAPA says.Gulf carriers Emirates and Qatar Airways declined comment on Iran.Iran would need huge investment and an improved political climate to catch up with deep-pocketed Gulf rivals that are "25-30 years ahead," he said.Some experts have already questioned whether the region can sustain three hubs close together, especially in the event of a downturn, but Gulf airlines say traffic remains buoyant.
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