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Iraqi Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedJune 1945; 78 years ago (1945-06)
Baghdad, Iraq
Commenced operations28 January 1946; 78 years ago (1946-01-28)
AOC #19
Operating bases
HubsBaghdad International Airport
Focus cities
Fleet size40
Parent companyIraqi Government
HeadquartersBaghdad, Iraq
Key peopleMunaf Abdulmunem Ajel (CEO)

Iraqi Airways Company (Arabic: الخطوط الجوية العراقية, romanizedal-Xuṭūṭ al-Jawwiyyah al-ʿIrāqiyyah), operating as Iraqi Airways,[1] is the national carrier of Iraq, headquartered on the grounds of Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad.[2][3] It is the second oldest airline in the Middle East. Iraqi Airways operates domestic and regional services; its main base is Baghdad International Airport.[4]


Iraqi Airways Vickers Viscount 735 at East Midlands Airport in 1978
Iraqi Airways Hawker Siddeley Trident1E landing at Athens Hellenikon Airport in 1973
An Iraqi Airways Boeing 747-200C at London Heathrow Airport in 1983
Boeing 747 originally belonging to Iraqi Airways waiting in Tozeur for a settlement with Kuwait since 1990
An Iraqi Airways Boeing 737-200 Advanced at Prague Ruzyne Airport in 2004
An Iraqi Airways building in Amman, Jordan
An Iraqi Government Boeing 747SP operated by Iraqi Airways at Andrews Air Force Base in 1989

Early history

Iraqi Airways was founded in 1945 as a department of the Iraqi State Railways and started operating on 28 January 1946 using five De Havilland Dragon Rapides on a service to Syria. With the help of the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), the new airline ordered three Vickers Viking aircraft. While waiting for the Vikings to be delivered, it leased four Douglas DC-3 aircraft from BOAC in December 1946. In 1947, the airline ordered the de Havilland Dove to replace the Dragon Rapides; the Doves were delivered in October 1947. The three new Vikings were delivered at the end of 1947 and the DC-3s returned to BOAC. A fourth Viking was bought second-hand.

In 1953, the four-engined Vickers Viscount turboprop was chosen to replace the Vikings and an order for three was placed in July. The Viscounts entered service in 1955 and operated all of Iraqi Airways' international services, including a new route to London with intermediate stops. On 1 April 1960, the airline was split from the railway company. In 1961, it placed an order for two Boeing 720Bs for delivery in 1964, but the order was later cancelled.

In the 1960s, Iraqi Airways bought Russian Tupolev Tu-124 planes as well as Hawker Siddeley Trident aircraft. These jets allowed the airline to increase services across the Middle East, to Africa and Europe. At the time, cargo aircraft such as the Ilyushin Il-76 were also purchased. During the 1970s, Iraqi Airways needed a bigger jet for a new route to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York; it purchased the Boeing 707 and, soon after, the Boeing 747. Airfares were kept artificially low through state subsidies under the Iraqi Ba'athist government.[5]

Later history

Attempts were made to restart domestic services after the Gulf War in May 1991, and permission was granted by the United Nations to operate helicopters on limited domestic services. Fixed-wing flights were banned under the ceasefire terms, although the UN Security Council agreed to the resumption of domestic flights. These restarted in January 1992 from Baghdad to Basra, using Antonov An-24 aircraft. Operations were suspended shortly after, following a UN ruling.[4]

However, domestic flights became a rarity too, because of the no-fly zone imposed by the United States and United Kingdom over Iraqi skies. During the 1990s, Iraqi Airways would occasionally fly pilgrims to Muslim religious cities.


After the War in Iraq, on 30 May 2003, Iraqi Airways announced plans to resume international services. The rights to the Iraqi Airways name was transferred to a new and separate company called Iraqi Airways Company, which would establish a new airline and protect it from the legal problems tied to Saddam Hussein's regime. Operations restarted on 3 October 2004, with a flight between Baghdad and Amman.

Iraqi Airways operated the first domestic commercial scheduled service since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, from Baghdad to Basra, with 100 passengers in a Boeing 727-200, on 4 June 2005. On 6 November 2005, Iraqi Airways operated a flight from Baghdad to Tehran, Iran, for the first time in twenty-five years. The aircraft, as with the rest of the fleet, was operated on its behalf by Teebah Airlines of Jordan. Services to Erbil and Sulaymaniyah were added in summer 2005.

In June 2009, it was revealed that Iraqi Airways had struck a deal with British aviation authorities to resume direct from Baghdad to London Gatwick Airport; the flights were supposed to begin on 8 August 2009 using a Boeing 737-400 leased from Tor Air and would eventually have seen the Airbus A320-200 operating the route. This did not happen as planned, however. The airline said at the time that they intended on a bigger expansion into the UK and Europe.[6]

In November 2009, Blue Wings, a German airline, began operating flights to Düsseldorf and Frankfurt, Germany on behalf of Iraqi Airways.[7]

On 25 April 2010, Iraqi Airways launched flights to Gatwick Airport via Malmö, Sweden. When the first flight landed at London, a Kuwaiti lawyer had the General Director Kifah Hassan's documents and passport seized, as well as the plane itself. There were no developments, however, as the plane was owned by the Swedish company Tor Air.[8] The plane returned to Baghdad. However, Kifah Hassan was not allowed to leave the United Kingdom and went up in court on 30 April.[9] Kuwaiti officials demanded £780 million for the planes stolen by Saddam Hussein in the 1990 invasion.[10]

On 26 May 2010, Amer Abdul-Jabbar, Iraq's transport minister, said the cabinet had decided on Tuesday to dissolve the company over the next three years and pursue private options to avoid asset claims made by Kuwait over their 1990–91 war.[11]

In February 2012, Iraqi Airways announced that it would resume flights to India, with services to Delhi or Mumbai from Baghdad.[12]

In April 2012, it was announced that Iraqi Airways had ordered 40 new Boeing aircraft, the order consisting of 30 737-800 and 10 787. The first aircraft would be delivered in December 2012.[13] Airbus in early December delivered its first A330-200 to Iraq, while Boeing delivered a Boeing 777 around the same time as well.[14][15]

On 14 August 2013, Iraqi Airways took delivery of their first Boeing 737-800 directly from Boeing Company.

In June 2014, Iraqi Airways suspended services to Mosul due to the capture of the city by ISIL.

On 8 September 2015, Iraqi Airways received a loan of $2 billion from a Citibank to finance the purchase of 40 modern aircraft type Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner.[16]

The airline opened a Request For Proposals (RFP) to European airlines with a valid AOC certification in late 2019. The goal was to obtain agreements to wet lease aircraft that can serve routes between Iraq and Europe.[17][18]

In 2019, Iraqi Airways saw the resumption of flights to Syria, between Damascus and Baghdad.[19]


In 2008, Iraqi Airways received a single Bombardier CRJ[20] in an adapted version of Bombardier's distinctive blue and white demonstrator livery[21] with Iraqi titles and logos. The rest of the CRJ fleet were delivered in a version of the former green livery and YI-AQA was quickly painted to match.[22] In 2012 Iraqi Airways adopted a new green livery which was applied fleet-wide.[23]

Iraqi Airways is one of the few airlines that do not serve alcoholic beverages on their flights.[24]


Main article: List of Iraqi Airways destinations

In March 2009, Iraqi Airways began its first flights to Sweden in almost 19 years.[25]

In September 2009, the airline resumed flights to Bahrain[26] and Doha, Qatar.[27]

In October 2009, Iraqi Airways resumed flights to Karachi, Pakistan.[28] The airline also started seasonal (Hajj) flights to Jeddah.

After revealing the previous month that it had applied for rights to fly to Malmö, Sweden,[29] Iraqi Airways commenced flights to the city on 28 November 2009.[30]


Current fleet

An Iraqi Airways Airbus A321 landing at Vnukovo Airport, Moscow, Russia (2018)
An Iraqi Airways Airbus A330-200 landing at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, Turkey (2016)
An Iraqi Airways Boeing 737-800 at Munich International Airport, Germany in 2015
An Iraqi Airways Boeing 747-400 in the new livery landing at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia in 2014
Iraqi Airways' single Boeing 777-200LR landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City, USA in 2022.

As of August 2023, the Iraqi Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:[31][32]

Iraqi Airways fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total
Airbus A220-300 5 12 130 142
Airbus A320-200 3 180 180
Airbus A321-200 2 220 220
Airbus A330-200 1 24 264 288 YI-AQY
Boeing 737-800 14 12 150 162 One leased from Tailwind Airlines
Boeing 737 MAX 8 6 12 150 162
Boeing 737 MAX 10 10 TBA Deliveries from 2024.[33]
Boeing 777-200LR 1 14 350 364 YI-AQZ
Boeing 787-8 2 8 24 242 266 Deliveries commenced in 2023
Bombardier CRJ-900LR 6 90 90
Total 40 18

Fleet development

In May 2008, the Iraqi government signed a $2.2 billion contract with Boeing for 30 Boeing 737-800s with an option for an additional 10. It was also working on a deal involving the order of ten Boeing 787 Dreamliners aircraft for long-range service.[34]

Another contract worth $398 million was signed for ten Bombardier CRJ-900ER aircraft with ten options.[35] The first CRJ-900ER was delivered in October 2008. This resulted in a lawsuit against Bombardier by Kuwait Airways. Kuwait claims to have won $1.2 billion in judgments against Iraqi Airways as a result of the Gulf War. The Canadian judge ruled that he did not have jurisdiction because the case involved a foreign government, given that the purchaser of the aircraft was the government of Iraq, not Iraqi Airways.[36] The lawsuit by Kuwait Airways was settled in 2009, with Iraq agreeing to pay $300 million.[37]

In February 2010, Iraqi Airways announced major fleet plans, including converting 10 of the 30 orders for the Boeing 737-800 to additional wide bodies as well as bringing the delivery date forward to September 2011, and changing the 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliner orders to Boeing 777 aircraft.[38]

Former fleet

Five Kuwait Airways Airbus A310-200s were seized in 1990 and re-registered in Iraq as part of Iraqi Airways; however, these never flew any commercial flights for the airline.[40] Iraqi Airways also ordered five Airbus A310-300s in the late 1980s, but war-related sanctions prevented their delivery.

Accidents and incidents

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Iraqi Airways' was subject to incidents during the American-Led Gulf Wars with the last occurring on 25 December 1986. In modern day, has seen significant improvements amongst their fleet and operations. The airline has had the following incidents, accidents and hijackings since it began operations in 1945:[41]


  1. ^ Arab Air Carriers Organization Archived 23 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Iraqi Airways Office in Baghdad Archived 28 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine." Iraqi Airways. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  3. ^ "Iraqi Airways Archived 18 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine." Arab Air Carriers Organization. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 3 April 2007. p. 94.
  5. ^ Chandrasekaran, Rajiv (2007). Imperial life in the emerald city : inside Iraq's green zone. Internet Archive. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-307-27883-8.
  6. ^ Iraqi Airways to relaunch London-Stansted Archived 28 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine. (22 June 2009).
  7. ^ Blue Wings is flying directly to Baghdad (German Only) Archived 23 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Die Welt.
  8. ^ Bumpy landing for Iraq's first flight Archived 25 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (31 July 2008).
  9. ^ Iraqi Airways maiden flight to London turns into nightmare.
  10. ^ McElroy, Damien. (1 May 2010) First flight from Baghdad to London in 20 years ends in farce with plane impounded Archived 5 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine. The Daily Telegraph.
  11. ^ Iraq to dissolve Iraqi Airways – Middle East Archived 6 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Al Jazeera English.
  12. ^ Iraqi Airlines flight to land at Mumbai airport after 22 years – Mumbai – DNA Archived 19 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (28 April 2012).
  13. ^ Iraq to deliver Boeing jets by end of 2012 | Finance Archived 15 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Iraqi Airways takes delivery of Boeing 777". Arab News. 16 December 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Iraqi Airways takes delivery of its first Airbus A330 | Airbus Press release". Archived from the original on 23 June 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016..
  16. ^ "Iraq Seeks $2 Billion Loan for Boeing Jets With Citi as Adviser". 2 April 2014.
  17. ^ "Iraqi Airways issues ACMI RFP to European carriers". ch-aviation. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  18. ^ Kaminski-Morrow2019-10-17T14:52:48+01:00, David. "Iraqi Airways seeks operators to serve EU routes". Flight Global. Retrieved 31 March 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Diyaruna. "Iraqi Airways to resume flights to Syria". Diyaruna. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  20. ^ Iraqi Airways CRJ-900 in the experimental new livery of 2008 Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "C-FHRK | Bombardier CRJ-900ER | Bombardier Aerospace | Darryl Chua". JetPhotos. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  22. ^ "YI-AQA Iraqi Airways Bombardier CRJ-900". 19 October 2023. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  23. ^ Iraqi Airways new livery on their first 737-800 Archived 4 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Alcohol on long-haul flights: How many refills is it reasonable to ask for?". The Telegraph.
  25. ^ Iraqi Airways to Sweden! Archived 3 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (30 December 2008).
  26. ^ Iraqi Airways resumes Bahrain Archived 3 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (3 September 2009).
  27. ^ Iraqi Airways resumes Doha. (11 September 2009).
  28. ^ Scheduled flights between Najaf and Karachi to start next week Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  29. ^ Iraqi Airways applies for flights to Malmö, Sweden[permanent dead link].
  30. ^ Iraqi Airways to start Malmö, Sweden Archived 24 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  31. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2019 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2019): 17.
  32. ^ "Iraqi Airways Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  33. ^ "Iraqi Airways takes delivery of first B737 MAX 8". 28 February 2023.
  34. ^ Iraqi Airways signs contract worth $2.2 billion with Boeing Archived 12 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (5 May 2008).
  35. ^ Iraqi Airways signs contract worth $398 million with Bombardier Archived 13 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (6 May 2008).
  36. ^ Kuwait Airways files lawsuit against Bombardier Archived 13 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ Lawsuit is settled with Iraqi paying $300 million[dead link]
  38. ^ Iraqi Airways major fleet plans[permanent dead link]. (18 February 2010).
  39. ^ "Registration Details for G-AZFB (Monarch Airlines) 720-051B - PlaneLogger".
  40. ^ "Kuwait Airways A310 listed as part of Iraqi fleet". Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  41. ^ Iraqi Airways incidents and accidents. (4 March 2012).
  42. ^ "(Iraqi Airways returns a MAX aircraft to service)الخطوط الجوية العراقية تعيد طائرة من طراز MAX إلى الخدمة - Observer Iraq" (in Arabic). 1 January 2024. Retrieved 30 January 2024.
  43. ^ "YI-ASY Iraqi Airways Boeing 737 Max 8". Retrieved 27 December 2023.
  44. ^ "Airplane: YI-ASY". Flightradar24. Retrieved 27 December 2023.

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