The Iraqi government has stopped the dissolution of its national carrier Iraqi Airways.
“It [dissolution] has stopped, but I cannot comment more. [The decision] comes from a very high level,” says a source at Iraqi Airways.
The emblem of the airline has also been modified to fit in with a more liberal Iraq. The original green colour, affiliated with Saddam Hussein’s regime, has now changed to blue as a symbol of peace, say the sources.
Iraq began the process of dissolving its national carrier in the summer of 2010. The Iraqi government made the decision to dissolve the airline following a long-running dispute with Kuwait over war reparations from the 1990s (MEED 3:6:10).
Kuwait says Iraq owes it billions of dollars, including $1.2bn related to aircraft and aircraft parts seized during Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
The airline had a number of aircraft on order from the US’ Boeing that was worth about $5bn at list prices. The order is for 30 Boeing 737 aircraft, the first of which will be delivered in July 2013. Boeing will also deliver 10 787 Dreamliner aircraft in 2020.
The aircraft will go directly to the Iraqi government rather than to Iraqi Airways itself. Boeing is also providing “several million dollars” worth of expertise and training to Iraq as it tries to upgrade its aviation infrastructure, says Donald Galvanin, Boeing’s sales director for Middle East, Central & South Asia.