By John Lee.

Saudi Arabian budget airline Flynas is reported to be planning to start services to several Iraqi cities in the coming weeks.

If the plan goes ahead, it would be the first service between the two countries since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990.

(Source: Middle East Eye)

By John Lee.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has reportedly filed a complaint with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) following Baghdad’s decision to close the region’s airspace to international traffic.

The closure came after Kurdish authorities refused to hand over control of the airports to the central government, following last week’s referendum on Kurdish independence.

According to The National newspaper, the complaint to the ICAO claims that the air embargo was preventing aid from getting to displaced people.

(Source: ch-aviation)

By John Lee.

Direct international flights will be suspended to and from Erbil International Airport (pictured) starting from Friday evening, following a decision by the Iraqi cabinet and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, an airline official has told Xinhua.

The move follows the region’s vote for independence in Monday’s referendum.

Airlines including Qatar Airways, EgyptAir and Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines had already informed passengers that flights would be cancelled at the request of Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority.

Only domestic flights will be permitted, and all the already-booked tickets for international flights should be through Baghdad international airport.

Iraq’s Tourism Board also announced on the halt of domestic tourism movement to the Kurdish region starting from early next week.

(Sources: Xinhua, The Independent, Reuters)

(Picture credit: Makyol)

By John Lee.

Iran has reportedly closed its airspace to all flights originating in Iraqi Kurdistan.

It’s state-run IRNA news agency said on Sunday that the move followed a request from Baghdad.

In a separate development, an Iranian official has been quoted as saying that plans are in progress for direct flights between Erbil and the city of Urmia, in Iran’s Kurdistan province.

(Source: Financial Times)

(Image credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

An Iranian official has been quoted as saying that plans are in progress for direct flights between Erbil International Airport (pictured) and the city of Urmia, in Iran’s Kurdistan province.

Ahmad Montazami, the head of the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s office in Urmia, told Fars News Agency that the service could be started early next year.

He added that Urmia is an important destination for medical tourism.

In a separate development, Iran has reportedly closed its airspace to flights originating in Iraqi Kurdistan.

(Source: Rudaw)

By John Lee.

Kuwait’s Wataniya Airways is to commence return flights to Najaf from 23rd August.

According to ArabianBusiness, the route will be served by a newly-delivered Airbus A320.

The airline was recently granted a licence to operate at Kuwait International Airport, following a six-year break from business due to financial difficulties.

(Source: ArabianBusiness)

By John Lee.

Reuters reports that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has denied that it had lifted a ban on Iraqi Airways entering European airspace.

The national carrier was banned from flying to Europe in 2015 because it did not meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards.

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

Oman Air has announce that it will be commencing its four times weekly service from Muscat to Najaf from November.

Paul Gregorowitsch, Chief Executive Officer at Oman Air, said:

Following a temporary delay of our service to Najaf as the Operational teams were assessing and scheduling all fleet types for safe deployment on the route, Oman Air is delighted to start this service as our first destination in Iraq.

“The holy city of Najaf offers excellent potential for business travellers, those visiting friends and family, and for pilgrims. We anticipate a high demand.

(Source: Oman Air)