MIDDLE EAST: Iraqi Airways leapfrogs into the future

The government of Iraq has signed a deal valued at more than US$1 billion to buy 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners on behalf of its fledgling flag carrier, Iraqi Airways. The transaction follows 18 months of negotiations over the new, wide-bodied, long-haul aircraft after the two parties signed a memorandum of understanding in 2008. The aircraft […]


The government of Iraq has signed a deal valued at more than US$1 billion to buy 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners on behalf of its fledgling flag carrier, Iraqi Airways. The transaction follows 18 months of negotiations over the new, wide-bodied, long-haul aircraft after the two parties signed a memorandum of understanding in 2008. The aircraft will replace the carrier’s current fleet of leased planes and enable it to re-introduce long haul services.

The airline, which was grounded from operating international flights during the sanctions of the Saddam Hussein era, began flying again in 2004. It serves regional destinations and the UK with leased Boeing 737s, 757s and Bombardier regional aircraft.

In 2008, Iraq made its first post-Saddam purchase of commercial aircraft, signing a deal with Boeing for 30 single-aisle 737s, worth $2.3 billion at list prices.

Royal Jordanian, Middle East Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Bahrain Air and Gulf Air have launched regional services into Iraq, while in 2006, Austrian Airlines became the first European carrier to start flights to Iraq’s northern city of Erbil, in the Kurdish region.

The airline’s parent, Lufthansa, has applied to begin services this summer.