Iraqi Airways signs up for SITA package

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Iraqi Airways has signed a major deal with communications and IT specialist SITA for an infrastructure package to modernise its systems.

The package includes SITA's Horizon passenger management and distribution software, WorldTracer missing baggage system and aircraft operational communications kit AIRCOM. Installation of the package took four months, compared to the more typical time period of one year.

Replacing older systems with Horizon will allow Iraqi Airways to reduce its commercial costs by 20%, says SITA regional vice-president Middle East and North Africa Hani El Assaad.

A SITA spokesman adds that the four-month timescale was achieved by conducting intensive training sessions with the airline's personnel concurrently with installation of the system.

As part of the contract, the value of which is not being disclosed, SITA will supply, install and maintain all of the IT equipment at the national carrier's 20 offices across Iraq, as well as in seven other countries.

Some of the systems, notably AIRCOM, will be installed as new equipment arrives in the inventory. Iraqi Airways has 55 new aircraft on order from Boeing and Bombardier.

Iraqi Airways is planning to increase passenger numbers by more than 15% a year. Its attempts to re-establish itself on the world airline scene have been dogged by action by the Kuwaiti authorities, who are seeking $1.2 billion reparations for war damage inflicted during the 1990-91 Iraqi occupation of Kuwait.

This has seen court orders issued for the seizure of Iraqi Airways' property, including aircraft.