Iraqi Airways To Launch Baghdad To Washington Flight In 2016?

Filed Under: Other Airlines

File this under “something which has about as good of a shot as getting off the ground as Baltia Air Lines.”

Anyway, via Rudaw, Iraq’s national carrier has announced that they plan on launching flights between Baghdad and Washington next year, per Iraqi Airways‘ Director General:

Iraq’s national flag carrier will begin its first direct flights from Baghdad to Washington next year, Iraqi Airways’ Director General  Osama Sadr told reporters on Wednesday.

“The preparation has been done after several meetings were held with the administrative bodies of the airports that Iraq is planning to travel to,” Sadr said, announcing that flights also would be starting to Belarus and Tunisia.

Sadr said the airline is trying to connect Iraq to most countries around the world, and the airline is busy negotiating with airports where it wants to land.

Baqr Jabr Zubaidi, from Iraq’s Ministry of Transportation, said Iraq would soon be receiving new commercial aircraft.


While I in theory understand the political significance of capital-to-capital service, there’s simply no way this would work:

  • The Fly America act requires US government travel to be on US airlines or US-airline coded flights, and I don’t see US carriers starting Iraqi Airways codesharing anytime soon
  • Beyond that, it’s my understanding that many contractors are forbidden from even flying Iraqi Airways

Without government traffic, I’m not sure how they plan on filling this flight, especially as it’s no short hop, at ~6,200 miles. If they were to start US service, New York seems like a much more logical destination.


Beyond that, I’d be surprised if this route could get the green light in terms of security clearance. Delta’s Nairobi flight was canceled before it even got off the ground over security concerns, and as far as I know, the US has a ban on nonstop flights from Lebanon. So allowing nonstop flights between Iraq and the US would surprise me…

It could be a fun new product to review, however. 😉

Bottom line

Iraqi Airways’ Director General seems confident about the new route, though I just don’t see it happening, both politically and financially.

If it happens, it would make for some interesting plane spotting in DC!

  1. Although you’ve used a pretty picture of a 747, the press release says they are receiving new aircraft. I’m confident in predicting the Iraqis are not attmpting to fly that route with a 747.

  2. Several European carriers were flying to bdad and Erbil before the latest conflict. The facilities themselves are compliant with international standards. The bigger question is whether Iraq itself can get more stable.

  3. Last time i flew Iraq Airways it was a B727 between Budapest and Baghdad. It was a one class configuration. The coffeee maker exploded in the back with such a huge bang during flight that I dumped my dinner between my legs as I was sitting . I was wearing white jeans and dinner was chicken with thick dark brown mushroom sauce. When I got up, it was clear to others that I crapped myself. I didn’t even try to explain…..

  4. The Fly America Act (applicable for US Gov funded travel) allows travel on foreign flagged carriers where a segment isn’t serviced by USA flagged (or USA codeshare) flights or where such USA flagged/codeshared flights don’t meet mission requirements – e.g., an unreasonable delay or other legitimate reason. (There are other exceptions with countries where we have Open Skies agreements that meet requirements of the Act – though Iraq isn’t one of those right now).

  5. Why do you pretend that you’ll actually review it – we’ve been waiting for the air India review for years now

  6. Your reviewing this has as good a shot as getting off the ground Baltia Air Lines. Stick to Emirates or Cathay F!

  7. Why does anyone think you have any credibility? You don’t know a damn thing about anything!
    I saw an Iraqi Airlines (new) Boeing jet at the Boeing factory in Seattle last month.
    You always take such great pleasure in mocking other countries and their people. Can’t wait until you get to actually experience some of those people you treat with such contempt.

  8. @Kurt
    Ben doesn’t try to know everything, but in the world of international airline service knows quite a bit. No one didn’t say Iraq Airways doesn’t have some new planes on order. But just that a very long haul route such as this is most likely just PR talk on the airline’s wish side. These type of routes are complex with tons of regulation and he was just saying it was unlikely.

  9. They’d be far better off working out a codeshare deal with one of the Gulf carriers.

    Considering they’re only able to operate to Europe via wetlease, I don’t see them being able to serve the US market with their ‘new aircraft’ regardless of the economic viability of the service.

  10. Iraqi Air’s safety record is 2/7 and are banned from flying in the EU. Is there a way to see if they are endorsed by the FAA as a safe airline for US Citizens?

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