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Iraqi Airways

Iraqi Airways was the international airline of Iraq. It still exists, but only as a domestic aviation service.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Current Events
3 Destinations


Iraqi Airways was founded in 1945. The first planes used were Dragon Rapids. For the next fiscal decade, until 1955, these planes were alternated with Vickers Viscounts. By 1955, however, the Viscounts took over all of Iraqi Airways services.

The 1960s arrived, and so did the jet age. Iraqi Airways was quick to modernize, buying Russian built Tupolev TU-124 planes as well as British built Tridents. These jets allowed Iraqi Airways to increase service across the Middle East, to Africa and Europe. During that time, cargo airplanes such as the Il-76 arrived.

During the 1970s, Iraqi Airways was granted a route to JFK International Airport in New York, and because of that, it needed a bigger jet, so it went to (then) Seattle based Boeing and bought 707 jets. Soon after, the Boeing 747 also arrived. In 1979, Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq, in a moment that would later prove to be a turning point for the airline.

Iraqi Airways kept flying during the 1980s to most cities where it had established routes to. The Iraq-Iran battle did little to undermine the airline's activities. In what could be considered by some to be an ironic twist to the trend, in 1986, a Boeing 737 of Iraqi Airways, flying from Saddam International Airport in Baghdad to Jordan, was attacked by terrorists. Although the plane tried to make an emergency landing in Saudi Arabia, the terrorists threw a bomb into the plane's cockpit, and its destruction caused the plane to crash resulting in the deaths of 61 of the 93 people on board . Iraqi Airways has, to date, had ten air tragedies.

Since Iraq's invasion in 1991 of Kuwait, Iraqi Airways has been grounded by the United Nations' sanctions against Iraq. Before the invasion started, Iraqi Airways had 17 jets, all of which were moved to secret locations, mainly in Jordan.

Through that ordeal, many of the airline's 800 employees stayed faithful, and their mechanics supposedly even owned Iraq's only jet engine, where they would practice in hopes the airline would someday need their services as much as it once did.

Because Iraqi Airways is allowed to fly domestically, it continued service to smaller cities, such as Basra. However, domestic flights became a rarity too, because of the No-Fly Zone imposed by the United States and Great Britain over Iraqi skies. On occasions, Iraqi Airways would also fly pilgrims to Muslim religious cities during the '90s.

Current Events

Iraqi Airways, it is rumored, only has three planes that are still considered usable: A Boeing 747, a Boeing 727 and an Il-76. Presumably, the 727 and Il-76 are the planes used on their domestic routes. But other rumors point to a possible future deal between Iraqi Airways and the Airbus company, where the Iraqi company would acquire some Airbus family jets, probably for use on their domestic flights.

On May 30 of 2003, Iraqi Airways' management announced it plans to resume international service soon.

Iraqi Airways currently has contracts with Schabak and with Nostalgair to produce their airplane models. The airline's livery consists of an all white airplane's belly, but with a green cheatline and an aqua green scheme covering the top of their planes. The aqua color goes all the way to the end of the planes' tails. The tail logo consists of a green bird inside a white circle, with the name Iraqi Airways inscribed just below the circle, in white color and in Arabic. The same title is also inscribed over the passenger windows on the front part of the fuselage, using the same color but written in English.


Currently, only a few domestic destinations are served by Iraqi Airways, and it has been rumored by various web-sites that they secretly cover holy muslim cities during special muslim celebrations.