ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) may consider suspending domestic flights between the Kurdistan Region’s airports and the rest of Iraq due to financial issues and Baghdad’s international flight ban, an official from the airport in Erbil stated.
Talar Faiq, the Director-General of the Erbil International Airport (EIA), told Anadolu Agency last week that the airports in Kurdistan may face a possible closure due to an ongoing ban on international flights imposed by the Iraqi government.
“Since the Iraqi government’s ban went into effect late September 2017, Iraqi Airways has not paid for its landings at the EIA [for flights originating from Baghdad and other Iraqi airports],” Faiq said.
“Baghdad owes the EIA an amount of 37 million USD for landing at the airport,” the Director-General added.
The EIA had previously warned that Baghdad’s ongoing embargo on the airports in the Region might lead to the suspension of domestic flights, as the expenditure at the local airports would be higher than the revenues generated.
“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 said in a statement.
“The flight ban also forces the EIA to suspend contracts with French and German companies worth USD 35 million [to renovate and expand the airport],” the statement added.
On Sep. 29, 2017, authorities in Baghdad enforced a flight ban for international flights to airports in Erbil and Sulaimani Province following Kurdistan’s momentous independence referendum a few days earlier.
Last week, the Federal Government of Iraq extended the international flight ban until May 31.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany