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Iraqi flights are operating normally, says Iraqi transport minister

Despite of security unrest, air traffic in Baghdad is operating normally in the country, the Iraqi Ministry of Transport said.
The ministry further stated that the Baghdad airport, as well as the other airports in the country, is secure and there are no fears they will not remain so.
Capt. Nasser Hussein Bandar, director of the ministry's Civil Aviation Authority, mentioned, "We have not recorded any stoppage or irregularities as a result of the recent security events in the country."
Since mid-June, provinces in northern and central Iraq have witnessed large-scale military operations following the takeover of areas in these provinces by the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) and other armed groups. All Iraqi civilian airports are well-protected by international security firms on the inside and the military on the outside, Bandar said.
Currently, there are no fears over the safety and security of these facilities, he added. Earlier, a number of media outlets had recently run false reports that flight schedules and reservations were disrupted, including at Baghdad airport, but the Iraqi airways director Saad al-Khafajy told Mawtani, "All these reports are simply lies and flagrant rumors".
He also added that the company was "flying its planes normally". "There has been an increase in the number of Iraqi Airways flights between Baghdad and the airports in al-Sulaimaniya and Erbil, but this increase was absorbed in a highly efficient [manner]," al-Khafajy said.
He mentioned, "All our airports and the surrounding areas are very secure, and there is generally stability, a smooth flow of passenger traffic, and punctuality in domestic and international flights by our company and the other international airline."
Bandar said the Baghdad-Erbil air route has been the busiest one over the past few days, prompting Iraqi Airways to increase the number of its aircraft and flights. Now, flights on this route have returned to their normal rate of three flights a day, he said.
Mr. Bandar said that a new terminal opened at Baghdad airport on June 26th and this will be used in conjunction with the old Babil terminal. As media quoted from his comments, "This terminal building can accommodate up to five million passengers a year which will help in resolving any overcrowding that may arise."
Iraqi Airways also plans to adopt a new flight scheduling system during the summer and winter seasons that would allow passengers to book flights two or three months in advance, he said.
Serious Damages from Rumors
Economist Abdul Aziz Hassoun made a note, "Rumors and news reports of threats against airports, and the halt of flights, aside from being aimed at spreading panic among the people, and particularly those wishing to come to Iraq, cause extremely serious damage to the national economy and in particular the travel, tourism, and aviation sectors."
He also said, "Those who promote false news seek to negatively influence the overall investment and commercial activities in the country, by targeting its economic structure."
Hassoun said, "Airports are vital facilities which link countries, and consequently, their safety is a message of assurance of the country's state of stability and security."
"We have heard a lot of ill-intentioned news, but when we arrived, the situation at the Baghdad airport seemed very normal, exactly the opposite of what we had heard," said Qassem Kateh, 47, who is travelling to Mecca this month to perform umrah.
"We will leave for the holy land on schedule, and our supplication to God is to bestow peace and prosperity on our country" he told. Meanwhile, 33-year-old Iraqi Airways passenger Sarmad Kareem is en route to Istanbul.
"When we arrived at the Baghdad airport, everything was normal and peaceful; the process of checking and stamping passports went smoothly, and we did not run into any obstacles," he said.
Updated 05 Jul 2014 | Soruce: Mawtani |
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