July 28, 2005
Iraqi Airways will begin passenger flights to neighboring Turkey for the first time in 15 years, its sales representative in Istanbul said on Thursday.
The national carrier grounded its planes in the early 1990s due to UN sanctions, and much of the carrier's fleet and assets were destroyed during the 2003 US-led war and in post-war looting.
It resumed international flights last year. It has since begun rebuilding its fleet, purchasing a 1983 Boeing 737 and leasing another plane of the same type, as well as a Boeing 727 and Boeing 767. It launched flights to Amman and Damascus earlier this year.
"As part of its reconstruction, Iraq has picked up where it left off in air transportation due to long-term sanctions and the war," its Turkey-based representative Fly Service said in a statement.
The flagship carrier will on August 3 begin flights between Baghdad and Istanbul on Mondays and Thursdays. It will also offer cargo flights three times a month, the statement said.
"Iraqi Airways will securely carry both Turkish businessmen involved in Iraqi commerce and their cargo. These flights will help commercial relations between Iraq and Turkey as well as bilateral relations," the statement said.