Sunday, March 29, 2009

Iraqi Airways Starts Flying Again

National airline Iraqi Airways made its first flight to the European Union in 19 years when an aircraft flew from Baghdad to Stockholm via Athens, the transport ministry said on Saturday.

"Transport Minister Amr Abduljabbar Ismail was on board the plane, which made a stop-off in the Greek capital" where he held talks with Greek leaders on developing bilateral relations in transport, the ministry said in a statement.

Friday's flight then continued to Stockholm, it added.

Iraqi Airways planes were grounded by an international embargo imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990.

Following the US-led invasion in 2003, the company resumed air services to Arab countries, Iran and Turkey, among other destinations.

The transport ministry said Iraqi Airways plans to add scheduled flights to Bahrain, Germany, India and Qatar.

The ministry and Air France-KLM signed an outline agreement on December 30 for the operation of commercial flights to Europe and for the renovation of Baghdad airport.

Among the clauses, Air France-KLM undertook to help Iraqi Airways set up international flights, especially European services.

The agreement also foresees renovating Baghdad airport's third terminal to international standards and constructing new airports in Iraq with funding from French businesses.

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