Iraqi Airways attempts to restore London links again

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Iraqi Airways is intending to restore links with London in March, using its newly-acquired Airbus fleet to open services from Baghdad and Sulaymania.

The airline says it hopes to open the connection on 5 March, restoring a link which has been absent for 23 years.

Three years ago an attempt to resume services descended into fiasco after the arrival of an Iraqi Airways service at Gatwick resulted in the detention of the airline's chief.

Iraqi Airways intends to operate the London connections with Airbus A330 and A320-family aircraft.

While the twice-weekly flights to Baghdad and weekly services to Sulaymania will be non-stop, the flights to London will operate via Malmo in Sweden in order for security checks to be conducted.

Iraqi Airways' UK sales agency IKB claims UK authorities have granted permission for the new operation. It adds that the frequency of connections between Iraq and the UK will rise to six-times weekly by mid-June.

The Iraqi transport ministry says the airline's preparations to restore the Baghdad-London link is "consistent" with its efforts to resume connections and develop its air transport sector.

Iraqi Airways' attempt to operate to London in April 2010 was aborted after intervention from Kuwait Airways legal representatives, who were pursuing a long-running compensation lawsuit on behalf of the airline.