Iraqi Airways flies Baghdad to Basra

An Iraqi Airways passenger plane from Baghdad has landed at Basra airport, signalling the normal resumption of domestic flights between the two cities.

    The flight is expected to revive air travel in the country

    Officials expect the flight to usher in a revival of domestic air travel in Iraq, which had its air traffic grossly disrupted by no-fly zones imposed by the US and UK in parts of the country following the first Gulf war.

    The Iraqi national carrier had flown a plane from Amman, Jordan to Baghdad in September 2004, but without any passengers, in a symbolic resumption of its international flights after a gap of 14 years.

    Iraqi Airways was formed in 1946. After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, UN sanctions imposed an economic embargo in 1991 that left the airline in ruins.

    The sanctions forced the airline to turn to maintenance work on other international planes to avoid falling into bankruptcy.

    "We were not allowed to fly. We turned our offices into business centres and we turned to contractual work in Libya, Jordan and Sudan," said Isac Esho, the airline's deputy director general.

    Fifteen of its planes were flown out of the country, where they were left to rust. The airline says the planes are "non-functioning" and says it will send out repair teams.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?