Proposed joint airline between Iraq and Kuwait scrapped

Baghdad
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A proposed joint airline venture between the governments of Iraq and Kuwait is no longer being pursued, Iraqi Airways director general Saad Al-Khafaji confirms.

The operation had been announced in the original draft of a settlement reached by the two countries in March 2012, when Iraq agreed to pay Kuwait $500 million in compensation to end a Saddam Hussein-era dispute over stolen aircraft.

Some $200 million of that sum was due to be invested by Kuwait towards the establishment of a joint airline operating between the two countries, government officials said at the time.

But Al-Khafaji now tells Flightglobal: "Our minister did not approve it [the establishment of the joint venture]. We paid the $200 million in cash."

The Iraqi Airways director general reiterates that the 23-year-old dispute between the two countries has now been comprehensively laid to rest. He insists that the flag carrier is instead focussed on "building bridges" with its Arab neighbours.