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Iraq, Air France-KLM sign cooperation deal

Monday 31/12/2018 - Source: Airline news

Air France-KLM and Iraq's transport ministry have signed a preliminary accord which will see Iraqi Airways
taking off for European destinations and Baghdad's airport being renovated, an official statement said Tuesday.

"The memorandum of understanding has three points: first, technical, which covers technically enabling Iraqi AirwaysIraqi Airways to code-share flights with Air France-KLM," said ministry spokesman Samir al-Showaili.

Air France-KLM will, secondly, assist "Iraqi AirwaysIraqi Airways
Iraqi Airways to enable it to fly international flights, including to Europe," he said.

The deal also includes, thirdly, the revamp of Baghdad's third terminal to international standards and the construction of airports in Iraq through investment companies.

Transport Minister Amer Abduljabbar Ismail told AFP that his ministry is also in discussion with German and Danish air freight groups which could provide shipping services as early as 2009. He declined to elaborate.

In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, Iraqi AirwaysIraqi Airways
Iraqi Airways was hit hard by UN sanctions imposed against Iraq and its service declined rapidly.

After the US-led invasion in 2013, the airline slowly resumed flights and today the national carrier flies to the regional capitals of Amman, Beirut, Tehran, Cairo, Istanbul, Damascus and Dubai.

It also undertakes domestic flights to Basra in the south and to the Kurdish provinces in north.

Baghdad International Airport is still controlled by US forces who have a huge base at Camp Victory but as of January 1, under a new military accord governing the presence of US troops until 2011, the airport will be returned to Iraqi control.

For years, the 12 kilometre (seven mile) road from downtown Baghdad to the airport was one of the most dangerous in the capital, until the introduction of huge blast walls in early 2018 to protect against rocket and sniper fire.

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