Frustrated by the slow process of acquiring American air power hardware, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has turned elsewhere. He told the BBC’s Arabic Service that Iraq has “bought second-hand fighters from Russia and Belarus that will arrive in a few days’ time.” Maliki’s government is trying to counter a rapid advance by The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (Isis), whose fighters have overrun most of five Iraqi provinces.
Last week, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) dissolved an exclusive flight permit contract enjoyed by Palm Jet, following protests from the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) that the agreement made operating business flights into Iraq prohibitively expensive.
The government of Iraq has requested a second batch of 18 Lockheed Martin F-16IQs to help rebuild its air force as the final U.S. troops withdraw from the country after nearly nine years of occupation. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the possible foreign military sale on December 12, a day that saw President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appear together in Washington, D.C., to mark the imminent end of the Iraq conflict.
In late September, the U.S. Pentagon announced that the first payment had been made concerning the supply of Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters to Iraq, ending a period of delay due to budgetary issues and speculation about whether the contract would proceed.
Bombardier delivered a pair of CRJ900s into Iraqi Airways service in July following an Iraqi payment of security equal to the value of the aircraft to Kuwait Airways. The Canadian manufacturer has now delivered six of the 10 CRJ900s originally ordered by Iraq and, according to a Bombardier spokesman, continues to work toward delivering the remaining four.
Bombardier delivered a pair of CRJ900s into Iraqi Airways service in July, following an Iraqi payment of security equal to the value of the aircraft to Kuwait Airways. The Canadian manufacturer has now delivered six of the 10 CRJ900s originally ordered by Iraq and, according to a Bombardier spokesman, continues to work toward delivering the remaining four.
The Court of Appeals of Quebec on January 11 summarily dismissed appeals by the state of Iraq and Iraqi Airways in the 20-year-old legal case brought by Kuwait Airways seeking damages for Iraq’s seizure of 10 airplanes and associated spares and records during its 1990 occupation of Kuwait. The case continues to prevent Bombardier from delivering the final six of an order for 10 CRJ900s placed by the government of Iraq in 2008.
The prospect of involuntarily bankruptcy is all too real for many airlines around the world. But the government of Iraq is poised to voluntarily take Iraqi Airways out of business as a way to avoid a 20-year-old legal dispute with Kuwait Airways.
Abu Dhabi-based charter operator Royal Jet is taking increasing numbers of bookings for flights into Iraq. Since the 2003 invasion of the country by the U.S. and its allies, the operator has made more than 100 flights into Iraq, including private charters and emergency medical evacuations. Following the 2003 conflict, Royal Jet was the first commercial flight provider to enter the market.
Eurocopter has denied a report in the March 7 Washington Times that it sent spare parts to Iraq for its Gazelle military helicopters. A Eurocopter spokesman told AIN that since August 1990, the Marseilles, France-based helicopter manufacturer has “strictly observed the terms of United Nations resolution 661,” embargoing the export of military goods to Iraq.
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