ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Officials from Erbil International Airport (EIA) on Wednesday expressed their concerns over the continued operation of domestic flights due to the impact of international flights being banned in the Kurdistan Region by the Federal Government of Iraq.
Following a meeting with diplomats and representatives of foreign countries in the Region, EIA released a statement outlining concerns that could affect the operation of the airport and eventually cause suspensions of domestic flights as well.
On Sep. 29, authorities in Baghdad enforced a flight ban for international flights to airports in Erbil and Sulaimani following Kurdistan’s momentous independence referendum a few days earlier.
The EIA said it would be difficult to handle its $2.3 million monthly expenses which include employee salaries, allowances, fuel, utilities, electricity, cleaning, and maintenance due to decreased income following the international flight ban.
“The EIA will be forced to suspend contracts with French and German companies worth USD 35 million,” the statement read.
According to the report, the airport is still active for Iraqi Airways, although, “since 2009, Iraqi Airways has not paid one dinnar for the services they receive at EIA.”
“EIA’s exposure to Iraq Airways debt is USD 34 million,” the statement added.
The EIA noted it would continue to “review its operation and would continue to serve Iraqi Airways” because the airport “does not wish to be seen as provocative, or to be accused of escalating matters.”
“The actions by Baghdad are an abuse of power that have a real impact on the airport and its operations,” the statement said, adding the airport was unsure if it could still run under such pressures.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany