Security is an issue, but three of flag carrier's aircraft stored outside country are almost set to start operations
Iraqi Airways' chief believes that the flag carrier could resurrect flight operations using at least three of its aircraft within a reasonably short time, if the planned 30 June handover of Iraq governing power takes place on schedule.
General manager Muhanad Al-Mufti says the carrier retains the necessary authorisations to operate. He adds that its corporate departments remain intact and the carrier still officially employs 2,300 staff, although it would need around two months to reorganise into a fully functioning carrier.
Much of the Iraqi fleet was dispersed abroad ahead of the first Gulf conflict in the early 1990s and several aircraft remain at locations such as Amman's Queen Alia airport in Jordan and Tozeur in Tunisia. Al-Mufti says: "We're trying to restructure the operations of the airline and rehabilitate some of the aircraft that are outside Iraq. Outside Iraq we have three aircraft that could be operational now."
These aircraft - a Boeing 747-200 and two Boeing 727-200Advs - would need only minor maintenance before being pressed back into service, he says: "They need maybe two weeks' work and then they will fly."
Two other aircraft outside the country and another pair of jets inside Iraq also have the potential to be reintegrated into the fleet, he adds, although all four would need heavy maintenance.
Al-Mufti says: "We hope to start a small fleet at the beginning, then lease some aircraft and start [more extensive] operations.
"It's a security problem at the moment. Baghdad airport is open for just military operations for the time being. We hope that after 1 July everything will be more settled. We don't have a definite date but hope we can resume flying some time in July."
DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW / LONDON
Source: Flight International