It’s all a little vague in fairness but the Iraqi transport ministry really does seem to be in the process of being inveigled into signing some sort of contract for 40 Boeing aircraft. Yup, 40. The deal it seems is envisaged at being around $6 billion. That’s $150 million a pop – and an awful lot of pops.
Millions of grateful Iraqi hearts must be beating a little faster – perhaps not just the ones inside people who know where the SAM-14s are hidden.The basis of the story is an article in the somewhat official Al Sabaah newspaper. Through the miracle of Google Language Tools you can get a perfectly comprehensible version of the story (if you’re quick). The aircraft are due to be delivered in 2013/14 by when Iraq expects to have air links with London, Frankfurt, Mumbai and so on.
I’d like to think the Iraqis aren’t being fleeced yet again but it doesn’t look good does it? Let’s suppose the minister was talking nominal contract value – knock a generous one-third off and you’re down to $100 million an aircraft. Assuming there are some 737s there, it looks like it’s going to be a pretty sexy fleet. Not to mention pretty enormous.
I’m reminded of my colleague David Kaminski-Morrow’s blog from Iraq early last year. He went to Erbil in the Kurdish north – that’s the airport that boasts the famous three-mile-long runway. (Irbil on Google Earth). The Kurds appear to have been told that they needed it because it would cater for every future eventuality. For example Airbus and Boeing discovering that due to previously unrealised laws of aerodynamics they need twice as long as previously to get their aircraft off the ground. Guess they’re stuffed at Heathrow then.