Iraqi Airways

Iraqi Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1945
Commenced operations 28 January 1946
Focus cities
Fleet size 32
Destinations 38
Parent company Iraqi Government
Headquarters Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq
Key people Samer Kuba[CEO]])

Iraqi Airways Company, operating as Iraqi Airways[1] (Arabic: الخطوط الجوية العراقية Al-Khuṭūṭ al-Jawwiyyah al-`Irāqiyyah), is the national carrier of Iraq, headquartered on the grounds of Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad.[2][3] One of the oldest airlines in the Middle East, Iraqi Airways operates domestic and regional service. Its main base is Baghdad International Airport.[4]

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

In 2015, Iraqi Airways was included in the list of air carriers banned in the European Union.


Iraqi Airways Vickers Viscount 735 at East Midlands Airport in 1978
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.[5] 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.[4]

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 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,[27] 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.[28]



Current fleet

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's Vnukovo International Airport, Russia (2013).
An Iraqi Airways Boeing 747-400 in the new livery landing at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia in 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 August 2016):[29]

Iraqi Airways Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total
Airbus A320-200 3 0 180 180
Airbus A321-200 2 0 220 220
Airbus A330-200 1 24 264 288
Boeing 737-700 2 12 125 137
Boeing 737-800 12 20 12 150 162 One operated by Air Explore to all European destinations
1 75 0 75 Operated for Government of Iraq
Boeing 747-400 2 74 338 412 One operated for the Government of Iraq
Boeing 767-300ER 2 18 221 239
Boeing 777-200LR 1 14 350 364
Boeing 787-8 10 TBA Entry in 2019
Bombardier CRJ-900LR 6 0 90 90
Bombardier CS300 5 12 140 152 Deliveries originally scheduled for 2016[30]
Total 32 35

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


Iraqi Airways began to modernize its fleet in 2008:

Retired fleet

Retired aircraft of Iraqi Airways
Aircraft Type Notes
Airbus A300B4-203 Operated for Govt. of Iraq
Airbus A300-600RF
Antonov An-12BP Cargo Aircraft
Antonov An-24
Boeing 707-320C
Boeing 720-051B[37]
Boeing 727-200 Some of the fleet were destroyed during the Iran–Iraq War
Boeing 737-200
Boeing 737-300
Boeing 737-400
Boeing 747-200C
Boeing 747-200F
Boeing 747SP
Boeing 757-200
Boeing 767-200
Ilyushin Il-76MD Cargo Aircraft
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10
Tupolev Tu-124V
Tupolev Tu-134
Lockheed L-1329 Jetstar
de Havilland Dove
de Havilland Dragon Rapide
Fokker 70
Hawker Siddeley HS-121 Trident 1E
Vickers VC.1 Viking
Vickers Viscount

Five Kuwait Airways Airbus A310-200s were seized in 1990 and re-registered in Iraq as part of Iraqi Airways, however these never flew.[38] The airline had also ordered five Airbus A310-300s in the late 1980s but war-related sanctions prevented their delivery.

Accidents and incidents

Iraqi Airways' last fatal incident occurred on 25 December 1986. The airline has had the following incidents, accidents and hijackings since it began operations in 1945:[39]


  1. Arab Air Carriers Organization Archived 23 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. "Iraqi Airways Office in Baghdad Archived 28 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine.." Iraqi Airways. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  3. "Iraqi Airways Archived 18 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.." Arab Air Carriers Organization. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  4. 1 2 "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 3 April 2007. p. 94.
  5. "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.
  6. Iraqi Airways to Sweden! Archived 3 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. (30 December 2008).
  7. Iraqi Airways to relaunch London-Stansted Archived 28 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.. (22 June 2009).
  8. Iraqi Airways resumes Bahrain Archived 3 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.. (3 September 2009).
  9. Iraqi Airways resumes Doha. (11 September 2009).
  10. Iraqi Airways applies for flights to Malmö, Sweden.
  11. Scheduled flights between Najaf and Karachi to start next week Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine..
  12. Blue Wings is flying directly to Baghdad (German Only) Archived 23 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. Die Welt.
  13. Iraqi Airways to start Malmö, Sweden Archived 24 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine..
  14. Bumpy landing for Iraq's first flight Archived 25 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. (31 July 2008).
  15. Iraqi Airways maiden flight to London turns into nightmare.
  16. McElroy, Damien. (1 May 2010) First flight from Baghdad to London in 20 years ends in farce with plane impounded Archived 5 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine.. The Daily Telegraph.
  17. Iraq to dissolve Iraqi Airways - Middle East Archived 6 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine.. Al Jazeera English.
  18. Iraqi Airlines flight to land at Mumbai airport after 22 years - Mumbai - DNA Archived 19 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. (28 April 2012).
  19. Iraq to deliver Boeing jets by end of 2012 | Finance Archived 15 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine..
  20. Iraq to get 40 Boeing planes Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine..
  21. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 June 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-07..
  22. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 April 2016. Retrieved 2015-08-05.
  23. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 2015-08-12.
  26. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 October 2016. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  27. Iraqi Airways CRJ-900 in the experimental new livery of 2008 Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  28. Iraqi Airways new livery on their first 737-800 Archived 4 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  29. "Global Airline Guide 2016 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2016): 17.
  30. Gregory Polek (2 January 2014). "Bombardier Seals CSeries Deal with Iraqi Airways".
  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 Archived 13 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  34. Lawsuit is settled with Iraqi paying $300 million
  35. "Turkish Technic signs deal for Iraq". Hürriyet Daily News. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
  36. Iraqi Airways major fleet plans. (18 February 2010).
  38. Kuwait Airways A310 listed as part of Iraqi fleet
  39. Iraqi Airways incidents and accidents. (4 March 2012).


External links

Media related to Iraqi Airways at Wikimedia Commons

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