Iraqi Airways operates first flight to Kuwait in 23 years

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Iraqi Airways has flown an Airbus A320 passenger flight from Baghdad to Kuwait for the first time in 23 years, Kuwaiti state news agency KUNA reports.

The Iraqi flag carrier had been unable to operate the route for more than two decades due to a bitter dispute over the alleged theft of 10 Kuwaiti aircraft by Saddam Hussein's troops in 1990.

The two sides settled their differences late last year, when Iraq paid $500 million in compensation to its neighbour. Kuwait had previously demanded $1.2 billion.

The dispute had also disrupted Iraqi Airways' fleet renewal, with Kuwait blocking deliveries of its Boeing and Bombardier aircraft. Following the reconciliation, Iraq's flag carrier has received at least one Boeing 777-200LR and one Airbus A330-200.

It has outstanding orders for 30 737-800s, 10 787-8s and four Bombardier CRJ900s.

Iraqi Airways will also resume direct passenger flights between Baghdad and London Gatwick airport on 5 March. The outbound service will be operated via Malmö, Sweden, while the inbound flight will be nonstop.