Iraq Expands Airport to Shake off War-Torn Era With Bigger Fleet

Sat, Aug 24, 2013

by Khalid Al-Ansary and Deena Kamel Yousef

Coinciding with efforts to revive its travel industry and lure tourists, Iraq plans to construct a new central airport and continue fleet expansion and revamping of its civil aviation infrastructure.

The government will unveil a list of contractors next week it will ask to bid for construction of the airport in Karbala south of Baghdad, according to Nasser Hussein, director general of Iraq’s civil aviation authority.

"This airport will be the biggest in Iraq with a capacity set to reach 20 million passengers a year,” and the national fleet will more than triple to 65 planes by 2016, Hussein said.

Iraqi Airways has already ordered eight planes from Airbus SAS, as well as 39 Boeing Inc. airliners that include the cutting-edge 787 Dreamliner.

Flight movements across Iraq have increased to 17,000 a month from 15,000 flights two years ago, Hussein said. To revive flight routes, the country has signed several bilateral aviation agreements, with an accord with the U.S. slated for next week, followed by Russia, China, France and Malaysia, Hussein said.

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