We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Sat 17 Mar 2012 01:53 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Kuwait's Jazeera wins rights to operate Iraq flights

Airline says it will become first Kuwaiti carrier to service Iraq with flights to Al Najaf

Kuwait's Jazeera wins rights to operate Iraq flights
Jazeera Airways chairman Marwan Boodai

Jazeera Airways said on Saturday it has won approval to become the first Kuwaiti carrier to operate flights to Iraq.

The airline said it has secured rights to operate a Kuwait-Al Najaf route and intends to launch "within the next six months".

The announcement follows successful bilateral discussions between the governments of Kuwait and Iraq, the carrier said in a statement.

Jazeera Airways, which currently operates 18 non-stop routes in the Middle East from Kuwait, will be the first Kuwaiti airline to operate a scheduled service to Iraq, it added.

The bilateral discussions also granted access to Kuwaiti airlines to operate to other Iraqi cities, including Mosul, Baghdad, Arbil and others.

Set up in 2005, Jazeera Airways carried 1.2 million passengers across its network last year.

On Wednesday, an aide to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Iraq had reached a $500m agreement with Kuwait to resolve a standoff over Gulf War-era debts that had prevented Iraqi Airways from flying to destinations in the West.

Under the deal, Iraq will pay Kuwait $300m in cash and will invest another $200m in a joint Iraqi-Kuwaiti airline venture, Maliki's media adviser Ali al-Moussawi told Reuters.

In return, Kuwait would lift legal actions against Iraqi Airways, he said. In 2010 Kuwait's lawyers tried to seize an Iraqi Airways plane on its first flight to London more than 20 years.

The issue of Iraqi Airways debts is one part of a long-running dispute between Iraq and Kuwait over billions of dollars of reparations dating back to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990-91.

Saddam's forces seized aircraft and parts during their occupation of Kuwait, before they were driven out in the US-led Gulf War.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.