Boeing in Iraqi airline talks

01 December 2003
The Boeing Companyof the US is in negotiations to assist in the launch of a new commercial airline in Iraq. 'Preliminary discussions have taken place outside Iraq about the creation of a private airline,' Boeing regional vice-president John Craig told MEED on 24 November. 'The plans are still being developed but Boeing could supply aircraft and training.'

The country's only indigenous carrier, Iraqi Airways, ceased international operations after the 1991 Gulf war. Many of its 17 aircraft, which include Boeing 707s, 737s and 747s, were grounded at Queen Alia International Airport near Amman due to UN sanctions. Few of the airline's existing aircraft are still serviceable and significant investment will be required before it is ready to resume operations.

Europe's Airbuscould also provide aircraft and training. In the early 1990s the government signed a preliminary agreement with Airbus for the purchase of 10 commercial aircraft. Interim transport minister Bahnam Zaya Bulos said on 13 November that he intended to reopen negotiations with the European manufacturer about the aircraft, for which Airbus is already understood to have received a 10 per cent downpayment.

However, efforts to restore Iraq's civil aviation sector continue to be hampered by security concerns. On 22 November, a cargo plane operated by the Brussels-based freight carrier DHLwas badly damaged in a missile attack over Baghdad International Airport.

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