Iran Air has taken the first four ATR 72-600s from a firm order for 20 of the type, forming part of the airline’s post-sanctions fleet renewal.

International sanctions on Iran were lifted in January 2016, freeing Iran Air to place large aircraft orders with Airbus, ATR and Boeing.

“The ATR 72-600 will form the core of the regional aircraft of the Iran Air fleet and will substantially contribute to the expansion and development of the services provided by the national airline across the country,” ATR said.

The Iranian national carrier took delivery of the four ATR 72-600s on May 16, after agreeing to take 20 of the type plus 20 options in February 2016. This contract was formalized in April 2017.

Iran Air CEO Farhad Parvaresh said the aircraft, which will be delivered between now and the end of 2018, will strengthen regional connectivity and create new business opportunities.

“There are still historical moments in aviation, and this is one of them, as Iran’s traveling public gains access to increased supply of air transportation,” ATR CEO Christian Scherer said.

Iran Air was created in 1961 and flies to 35 international and 25 domestic destinations.

The country has 60 domestic airports and ATR previously said it sees potential for further orders from the country.

Victoria Moores