Baghdad: Iraq has approved a request from
Kuwait`s Jazeera Airways to operate services to Baghdad and
Najaf, more than 20 years after direct flights between the
neighbours were halted, officials said Thursday.
"We agreed yesterday to the request of the Kuwaiti
Jazeera Airways company to (begin) flights from Kuwait to
Iraq," said Nasser Hussein Bandar, the head of Iraq`s civil
Bandar said Jazeera Airways, which was founded in
2004, had requested four flights a week to Baghdad and four
more to the central Iraq city Najaf.
Karim al-Nuri, an adviser to Iraq`s transport
minister, confirmed that a deal was approved.
"This is a step on the path to resolve all the
suspended files between Iraq and Kuwait," including unresolved
disputes over borders, said Nuri.
Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, after which flights
between the Iraq and its small neighbour to the south were
During a visit by Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki in
mid-March, Kuwait agreed to a USD 500 million deal with
Baghdad aimed at ending a decades-long debt dispute that saw
an Iraqi Airways flight impounded in London.
According to Kuwait Airways, Iraq`s flag carrier owes
it USD 1.2 billion as a result of the 1990 invasion. Kuwait
says 10 of its planes as well as aircraft parts were plundered
after its airport was seized during the invasion.
The dispute saw British authorities seize the passport
of Iraqi Airways chief executive Kifah Hassan Jabbar and
impound the plane which he flew to London in April 2010.
The incident marred Iraqi Airways` first commercial
flight from Baghdad to London in 20 years.