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Iraqi Airways

Iraqi Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1945
Commenced operations 28 January 1946
Focus cities
Fleet size 31 [1]
Destinations 38
Parent company Iraqi Government
Headquarters Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq
Key people Saad Al-Khafaji (CEO)

Iraqi Airways Company, operating as Iraqi Airways[2] (Arabic: الخطوط الجوية العراقيةAl-Khuṭūṭ al-Jawwiyyah al-`Irāqiyyah), is the national carrier of Iraq, headquartered on the grounds of Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad.[3][4] One of the oldest airlines in the Middle East, Iraqi Airways operates domestic and regional service. Its main base is Baghdad International Airport.[5]

Iraqi Airways is a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organization.


  • History 1
    • Early History 1.1
    • Later History 1.2
    • Revival 1.3
      • 2009 1.3.1
      • 2010 1.3.2
      • 2011 1.3.3
      • 2012 1.3.4
      • 2013 1.3.5
      • 2014 1.3.6
      • 2015 1.3.7
    • Livery 1.4
  • Destinations 2
  • Fleet 3
    • Modernization 3.1
    • Retired Fleet 3.2
  • Incidents and accidents 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Iraqi Airways Vickers Viscount 735 at London Heathrow Airport in 1962 when operating the schedule from Baghdad
Iraqi Airways Hawker Siddeley Trident1E landing at Athens Hellenikon Airport in 1973
An Iraqi Airways Boeing 747-200C at London Heathrow Airport in 1983.
Boeing originally belonging to Iraqi Airways waiting in Tozeur for a settlement with Kuwait since 1990.
An Iraqi Airways Boeing 737-200 Advanced at Prague Ruzyne Airport in 2004.
An Iraqi Airways building in Amman, Jordan.
An Iraqi Government Boeing 747SP operated by Iraqi Airways at Andrews Air Force Base in 1989.
An Iraqi Airways Boeing 737-200 taxiing in front of the control tower at Baghdad International Airport in 2008.

Early History

Iraqi Airways was founded in 1945 as a department of the Iraqi State Railways and started operating on 28 January 1946 using five De Havilland Dragon Rapides on a service to Syria. With the help of the British Overseas Airways Corporation the new airline ordered three Vickers Viking aircraft. While waiting for the Vikings to be delivered the airline leased four Douglas DC-3 aircraft from BOAC in December 1946. In 1947 it ordered the de Havilland Dove to replace the Dragon Rapides and the Doves were delivered in October 1947. The three new Vikings were delivered at the end of 1947 and the DC-3s were returned to BOAC, a fourth Viking was bought second-hand.

In 1953 the four-engined Vickers Viscount turboprop was chosen to replace the Vikings and an order for three was placed in July. The Viscounts entered service in 1955 and operated all of Iraqi Airways' international services including a new route to London with intermediate stops. On 1 April 1960 the airline became independent from the railway company and in 1961 it placed an order for two Boeing 720Bs for delivery in 1964, but the order for Boeings was later cancelled.

In the 1960s Iraqi Airways bought Russian Tupolev Tu-124 planes as well as Hawker Siddeley Trident aircraft. These jets allowed Iraqi Airways to increase service across the Middle East, to Africa and Europe. During that time, cargo aircraft such as the Ilyushin Il-76 were also purchased. During the 1970s, Iraqi Airways needed a bigger jet for a new route to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, purchasing the Boeing 707 and, soon after, the Boeing 747.

Later History

The United States banned Americans from traveling on Iraqi Airways after the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait. In addition the U.S. government accused the Iraqi Airways offices in the United States of being front companies for Saddam Hussein's government.[6] Since Iraq's invasion in 1990 of Kuwait, Iraqi Airways was grounded by the United Nations' sanctions against the country. Iraqi Airways had 17 jets, all of which were moved to secret locations, mainly in Jordan (some were parked on the aprons of Amman's Queen Alia International Airport where they still stand today. Two aircraft (a 747-200C and a 747SP) were flown to Tozeur–Nefta International Airport, Tunisia, where they remain parked.

Attempts were made to restart domestic services in May 1991 and permission was granted by the UN for the operation of helicopters on limited domestic services. Fixed-wing flights were banned under the ceasefire terms, although the UN Security Council agreed to the resumption of domestic flights. These restarted in January 1992 from Baghdad to Basra using Antonov An-24 aircraft. Operations were suspended shortly after, following a UN ruling.[5]

However, domestic flights became a rarity too, because of the No-Fly Zone imposed by the United States and United Kingdom over Iraqi skies. On occasions, Iraqi Airways would also fly pilgrims to Muslim religious cities throughout the 1990s.


After the War in Iraq, on 30 May 2003, Iraqi Airways announced plans to resume international services. The rights to the Iraqi Airways name was transferred to a new and separate company called Iraqi Airways Company which would build a new airline and protect it from the legal problems related to the regime of Saddam Hussein. Operations restarted on 3 October 2004 with a flight between Baghdad and Amman.

Iraqi Airways operated the first domestic commercial scheduled service since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime from Baghdad to Basra, with 100 passengers in a Boeing 727-200, on 4 June 2005. On 6 November 2005, Iraqi Airways operated a flight from Baghdad to Tehran, Iran, for the first time in twenty-five years. The aircraft, as with the rest of the fleet, was operated on its behalf by Teebah Airlines of Jordan. Services to Arbil and Sulaymaniyah were added in summer 2005.


  • In March 2009, Iraqi Airways began its first flights to Sweden in almost 19 years. The flight was operated Baghdad-Athens-Stockholm by a Boeing 737-300 leased from Seagle Air.[7]
  • On 22 June 2009, it was revealed that Iraqi Airways had struck a deal with British aviation authorities to resume direct Baghdad-London (Gatwick) flights; the flights were supposed to begin on 8 August 2009 using a Boeing 737-400 leased from Tor Air and should eventually have seen the Airbus A320-232 operating the route. This did not happen as planned, however. The airline said at the time that they intended on a bigger expansion into the UK and Europe.[8]
  • On 3 September 2009, Iraqi Airways resumed flights to Bahrain with a ceremony at Bahrain International Airport.[9]
  • On 11 September 2009, Iraqi Airways resumed flights to Doha, Qatar from Baghdad and Najaf after an 18-year break.[10]
  • On 30 October 2009, Iraqi Airways revealed that they had applied for rights to fly to Malmö, Sweden.[11]
  • On 10 October 2009, Iraqi Airways resumed flights to Karachi, Pakistan.[12]
  • On 30 October 2009, Iraqi Airways started seasonal (Hajj) flights to Jeddah.
  • During November 2009, Blue Wings, a German airline, began operating flights to Düsseldorf and Frankfurt, Germany on behalf of Iraqi Airways.[13] Germany was then the second European country, after Greece (now suspended) and Sweden, served by Iraqi Airways since the Iraq war.
  • On 28 November 2009, Iraqi Airways commenced flights between Baghdad and Malmö, Sweden via Erbil.[14]
  • At the end of 2009, Iraqi Airways relaunched their new website, with updated fleet page, flight schedules, destinations map, news section, flight information and other items. The site also said that Iraqi Airways would relaunch flights to London Heathrow with 3 weekly flights.


  • On 13 January 2010, Blue Wings ceased operations, causing all flights operating for Iraqi Airways to be suspended.
  • On 25 April 2010, Iraqi Airways launched flights to London Gatwick Airport via Malmö, Sweden. The flights were operated twice weekly by a Boeing 737-400 aircraft. When the first flight landed at London, a Kuwaiti lawyer had the General Director Kifah Hassan's documents and passport seized, as well as the plane itself. There were no developments, however, as the plane was owned by the Swedish company Tor Air.[15] The plane returned to Baghdad. However, Kifah Hassan was not allowed to leave the United Kingdom and went up in court on 30 April.[16] Kuwaiti officials demanded £780 million for the planes stolen by Saddam Hussein in the 1990 invasion.[17]
  • On 26 May 2010, Amer Abdul-Jabbar, Iraq's transport minister, said the cabinet had decided on Tuesday to dissolve the company over the next three years and pursue private options to avoid asset claims made by Kuwait over their 1990-91 war.[18]


  • In early May 2011, the Middle East Economic Digest reported that an Iraqi Airways source confirmed a "very high level" decision to stop IAC's dissolution.


  • In February 2012, Iraqi Airways announced that it would resume flights to India, with services two times a week to Delhi or Mumbai from Baghdad starting from March and May respectively.[19]
  • In April 2012, several news agencies announced that Iraqi Airways would receive 40 new Boeing aircraft: 30 737-800 and 10 787. The first airplanes would be delivered in December 2012.[20]
  • In April 2012, news agencies announced that Iraqi Airways would receive the remaining four Bombardier CRJ-900s in the coming months.[21]
  • On 31 May 2012, Iraqi Airways launched flights to Antalya Airport, Turkey.
  • On 4 December 2012, Iraqi Airways took delivery of their first Airbus A330. According to Airbus the carrier already operated two A321s.[22]


  • On 27 February 2013, Iraqi Airways resumed flights to Kuwait. This comes after a 22-year hiatus.
  • On 5 March 2013, Iraqi Airways resumed flights to London with flights to Gatwick Airport after suspending service between the two countries. This comes after a 23-year hiatus.
  • On 25 April 2013, Iraqi Airways resumed flights to Frankfurt, Germany with flight No. IA231/IA232 with a Boeing 777-200LR.
  • On 7 May 2013, Iraqi Airways resumed flights from Erbil and Sulaimaniyah to Düsseldorf, Germany.
  • On 5 June 2013, Iraqi Airways resumed flights from Baghdad to Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • On 10 June 2013, Iraqi Airways will begins flights from Baghdad to Ankara, Turkey.
  • On 25 July 2013, Iraqi Airways announced that it would operate flights from Baghdad International Airport to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. These flights will operate twice per week.
  • On 14 August 2013, Iraqi Airways took delivery of their first Boeing 737-800 from Boeing Company.
  • On 12 September 2013, Iraqi Airways announced that it would start flying to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.


  • In April 2014, Iraqi Airways launched flights to Vienna International Airport.
  • In June 2014, Iraqi Airways suspended services to Mosul due to the capture of the airport by the Islamic State
  • On 23 August 2014, Iraqi Airways began flights using Boeing 777-200LR between Guangzhou and Baghdad.


  • On 15 March 2015, Iraq Airways a flight to Manchester from Sulaymaniyah and Arbil It started with Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
  • On 18 May 2015, Iraqi Airways announced the start of flights between Baghdad - Basra - Beijing and the modern Boeing B777-200LR aircraft and by one flight a week.
  • On 8 June 2015,Iraqi Airways began flights using Boeing 777-200LR between Baghdad - Basra - Beijing.
  • On 5 August 2015, Iraqi Airways received a ban from flying in Swedish Airspace consequent to not meeting safety standards required to fly within the EU [23]
  • On 10 August 2015, an EU-wide ban was imposed on the airline, suspending all EU based flights from Iraqi Airways indefinitely [24] However Iraqi Airways responded to reports of the ban, citing that the ban was more of a "temporary suspension" caused due to bureaucracy issues and that the matters would be resolved as a matter of urgency.[25] [26] Since then, the airline has resumed limited service to some EU destinations by wet-leasing services from Aerovista.[27]


In 2008 Iraqi Airways introduced a new blue colour livery, replacing the previous green shades associated with Saddam-era, the new scheme was applied to a single Bombardier CRJ only,[28] later on one other CRJ received the former green livery, apparently reverting to the previous look. However, in 2012 Iraqi Airways adopted a new green livery which is now being applied fleet wide.[29]



An Iraqi Airways Airbus A321-200 in a temporary livery landing at Gatwick Airport, London, England. (2013)
An Iraqi Airways Airbus A330-200 in a temporary livery taxiing at Frankfurt Airport, Germany. (2013)
An Iraqi Airways Boeing 737-700 at Moscow-Vnukovo, Russia partially wearing the previous operators, airTran livery. (2013)
An Iraqi Airways Boeing 747-400 in the new livery landing at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia. (2014)
An Iraqi Airways Boeing 777-200LR in a hybrid livery taxiing at Frankfurt Airport, Germany. (2013)

The Iraqi Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of May 2015):[1]

Iraqi Airways Boeing customer code is '70' meaning that any Boeing aircraft ordered directly from Boeing for Iraqi would have 70 in it. For example, the Boeing 737-800's that are on order will be 'Boeing 737-870' and so on.


Iraqi Airways has placed firm orders for 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which will be used to reintroduce long-haul flights from 2019. These orders might be changed to Boeing 777s to make up the delays.

Iraqi Airways began to modernize their fleet in 2008;

Retired Fleet

Five Airbus A310-200 were seized from Kuwait Airways fleet in 1990 and re-registered in Iraq as part of Iraqi Airways, however these never flew.[41]

They had also ordered five Farnborough Airshow.

Incidents and accidents

Iraqi Airways last fatal incident occurred on 25 December 1986. The airline has had the following incidents, accidents and hijackings with a fatality count of around 70 since they began operations in 1945 and ceased in 2010;[42]

  • On 4 February 1955 De Havilland Dove YI-ABJ crashed following engine fire at Al-Mansuriya, Iraq.
  • On 10 October 1955, a Vickers 644 Viking 1B overran the runway at Baghdad and crashed into a ditch where it caught fire. All nineteen passengers and crew survived, but the aircraft was written off.
  • On 19 March 1965, a Vickers 773 Viscount crashed into a row of lamp posts at Cairo after a flight from Baghdad. All passengers and crew survived, but the aircraft was written off.
  • On 17 April 1973, a Vickers 735 Viscount performed a belly landing at Mosul International Airport after fuel exhaustion. All thirty three passengers and crew survived, but the aircraft was written off.
  • On 1 March 1975, a Boeing 737-200 flying from Mosul to Baghdad was hijacked by three hijackers. There was one death on board.
  • On 23 September 1980, an Ilyushin 76 cargo aircraft flying from Paris to Baghdad crashed whilst on approach to Saddam International Airport. It is believed the aircraft was shot down by Iranian fighter jets. It as also believed all crew members died.
  • On 24 September 1980, an Antonov 24TV was destroyed by heavy fire whilst on the ground Kirkuk Airport. There were reports of heavy fire in the area during 24 September.
  • On 22 April 1982, an Antonov 24B crashed whilst on approach to an Iraqi airfield. The left wing hit the ground causing the plane to crash. It is believed all crew members died.
  • On 28 August 1982, an Antonov 24TV undercarriage collapsed on take-off from Nasiriyah Airport. All onboard survived but the aircraft was written off.
  • On 16 September 1984, Iraqi Airways Flight 123, a Boeing 737-270C flying from Larnaca to Baghdad was hijacked by three hijackers. The three hijackers were killed whilst the rest of the passengers and crew survived.
  • On 25 December 1986, Iraqi Airways Flight 163, a Boeing 737-270C flying from Baghdad to Amman experienced a hijack attempt whilst flying over Saudi Arabia. Four hijackers tried to enter the cockpit whilst flying at FL260. Two explosions went off resulting in a crash near Arar, Saudi Arabia killing sixty three of the one hundred and six on board.
  • During the Gulf War, two Iraqi Airways Tupolev Tu-124V were destroyed by U.S. bombs.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Arab Air Carriers Organization
  3. ^ "Iraqi Airways Office in Baghdad." Iraqi Airways. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  4. ^ "Iraqi Airways." Arab Air Carriers Organization. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ "Iraqi 'fronts' listed." Associated Press at The Pittsburgh Press. Tuesday 2 April 1991. Volume 107, No. 279. A1. Retrieved from Google News Page 1 of 18; 20 May 2010.
  7. ^ Iraqi Airways to Sweden!. (30 December 2008).
  8. ^ Iraqi Airways to relaunch London-Stansted. (22 June 2009).
  9. ^ Iraqi Airways resumes Bahrain. (3 September 2009).
  10. ^ Iraqi Airways resumes Doha. (11 September 2009).
  11. ^ Iraqi Airways applies for flights to Malmö, Sweden.
  12. ^ Scheduled flights between Najaf and Karachi to start next week.
  13. ^ Blue Wings is flying directly to Baghdad (German Only). Die Welt.
  14. ^ Iraqi Airways to start Malmö, Sweden.
  15. ^ Bumpy landing for Iraq's first flight. (31 July 2008).
  16. ^ Iraqi Airways maiden flight to London turns into nightmare.
  17. ^ McElroy, Damien. (1 May 2010) First flight from Baghdad to London in 20 years ends in farce with plane impounded. The Daily Telegraph.
  18. ^ Iraq to dissolve Iraqi Airways - Middle East. Al Jazeera English.
  19. ^ Iraqi Airlines flight to land at Mumbai airport after 22 years - Mumbai - DNA. (28 April 2012).
  20. ^ Iraq to deliver Boeing jets by end of 2012 | Finance.
  21. ^ Iraq to get 40 Boeing planes.
  22. ^ [1].
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Iraqi Airways CRJ-900 in the experimental new livery of 2008
  29. ^ Iraqi Airways new livery on their first 737-800
  30. ^
  31. ^ Iraqi Airways signs contract worth $2.2 billion with Boeing. (5 May 2008).
  32. ^ Iraqi Airways signs contract worth $398 million with Bombardier. (6 May 2008).
  33. ^ Kuwait Airways files lawsuit against Bombardier
  34. ^ Lawsuit is settled with Iraqi paying $300 million
  35. ^
  36. ^ Airbus in talks with Iraqi Airways.
  37. ^ Iraqi Airways to lease 20 aircraft from Ross Aviation
  38. ^ Iraqi Airways gains another 3 CRJ-900ER's (Arabic) Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ Iraqi Airways major fleet plans. (18 February 2010).
  40. ^
  41. ^ Kuwait Airways A310 listed as part of Iraqi fleet
  42. ^ Iraqi Airways incidents and accidents. (4 March 2012).

41 42

External links

  • Official website
  • Official website (Arabic)
  • Iraqi Airways - Flights and Fleet Information
  • Iraqi Airways United Kingdom
  • Iraqi Airways Germany
  • Iraqi Airways Company Website- Ministry of Transportation
  • Iraqi Airways Turkey - Irak Hava Yolları Türkiye
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