Iraq's Transport Ministry is trying to speed up delivery of 55 new aircraft from Boeing as the country expands operations of Iraqi Airways, the Transport Minister said.
Amer Abdul Jabbar said Iraqi Airways currently owns just 4 ageing planes and depends mainly on leased aircraft, so the ministry is trying to get a fleet of 55 new Boeing 737s, 777s and 787s, which were not due to arrive until 2013.
'I believe 55 new planes will meet the needs of Iraqi Airways until 2020, since we are expecting to be more open to the world,' Abdul Jabbar said.
He added that Boeing had been expected to deliver in 2013 but the government is now hoping to receive some this year. 'They promised us to study our demand, taking into account other airlines' needs, to see if they are ready to give us priority,' he said.
A year and a half ago Iraq had only six international routes to Amman, Damascus, Beirut, Dubai, Tehran and Cairo. Since then it has gradually started to open up to other countries including Turkey, Germany, Greece, Austria, Denmark, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Pakistan. Iraq has also signed an agreement to open a route to the UK in the near future, and a memo of understanding for routes into the US.