On June 22, Iraqi Airways, one of the oldest airlines in the Middle East and which almost disappeared, received the first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner in its fleet.
The aircraft reception ceremony took place at Baghdad International Airport. In all, the carrier ordered 10 widebodies of the type from the US manufacturer.
“We are proud to be taking delivery of an airplane with the capabilities of the 787 Dreamliner. As domestic and international air traffic gains momentum, it’s crucial that our Iraqi Airways fleet matches growing demand with more efficient, capable and comfortable airplanes,” said Manaf Abdel-Monem, Director General of Iraqi Airways.
The 787 is the third state-of-the-art aircraft model incorporated by the Iraqi carrier in the recent period. In addition to the Dreamliner, Iraqi took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX 8 and Airbus A220-300 jets in recent months, an aircraft that the company still has not been able to use frequently due to problems with Pratt & Whitney’s GTF engines.
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Quite diversified, the company’s fleet also has Boeing 747, 767 and 777 family jets and Airbus A320 and A330 models.
Banned from flying to Europe
According to Boeing, the moment of greater stability in Iraq, which has gone through two devastating wars in the last three decades, allows the country’s flag carrier to expand its network of international flights and open new profitable routes, especially with the use from the 787.
“Today marks a new beginning for Iraqi Airways, taking delivery of its first 787 Dreamliner that will support the airline in connecting Iraq to the world,” said Omar Arekat, vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing, Boeing Middle East. “Boeing is committed to supporting Iraqi Airways’ ambition to bring greater optimization and new route possibilities to the region.”
Despite the extensive fleet modernization program, the Iraqi carrier is still barred by the European Union from serving destinations on the continent.
Founded in 1945, shortly after the end of World War II, Iraqi Airways began service the following year. For decades, the airline maintained a fleet of both Western and Soviet jets such as the Tupolev Tu-124.
In the 1970s, the company received the Boeing 707 and 747 (including the 747SP version), with which it expanded its international routes.
After the invasion of Kuwait, promoted by the dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraqi ended up ending operations and prohibited from flying again for many years. The return of the airline took place only in 2005.