Trans Mediterranean Airways (TMA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to co-operate with Iraqi Airways and help the Iraqi flag carrier rebuild its operations. The move comes as international pressure builds to lift the sanctions imposed on Iraq 10 years ago by the United Nations.

The MoU calls for the Lebanese cargo airline to provide freight services to Iraq, by creating a transit point at its Beirut International Airport base for dispersing goods. TMA could also lease Boeing 707-300 Freighters to Iraqi Airways.

TMA has already operated two cargo flights to Iraq recently in the face of the UN ban, through the non-objection of the UN Sanctions committee. The two airlines aim to start weekly cargo flights between Beirut and Baghdad, subject to UN non-objections. This would later increase to two flights per week.

TMA may help Iraqi revive its grounded 707-300 fleet using its maintenance facilities in Beirut.

Meanwhile plans underway to introduce regular flights between the Gulf and Iraq have been suspended. A private Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based carrier, was formed to operate the flights, but has had to postpone plans pending UN approval.

The airline, Nada al-Sharq International, owned by a member of the Dubai ruling family, planned to operate a 727 on four flights a week to Baghdad - one from Dubai and three from nearby Sharjah.

Source: Flight International