Iraqi Airways is currently in the process of taking delivery of its first Airbus A220, and boy am I intrigued.
Iraqi Airways has five A220s on order
Baghdad-based Iraqi Airways has five Airbus A220-300s on order. The first jet is currently in the process of being delivered, and it’s expected that additional jets will be delivered in the coming months.
Iraqi Airways placed the order for these aircraft all the way back in 2013, when the plane was still known as the Bombardier CSeries CS300. In 2018, Airbus took a majority stake in the project, at which point it was rebranded as the Airbus A220-300. So after the planes have been on order for nearly a decade, we’re finally starting to see some deliveries.
Iraqi Airways’ A220-300s are being configured with 132 seats, including 12 business class seats and 120 economy class seats (unfortunately we haven’t yet seen any cabin pictures). I must say, the plane looks especially snazzy in Iraqi Airways’ livery, in my opinion…
The A220 is simply a fantastic plane, both in terms of the passenger experience, and in terms of the economics. The plane features a 50% reduced noise footprint and up to 25% lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft.
Iraqi Airways’ first A220 is headed to Baghdad
Iraqi Airways’ A220s are being produced in Mirabel, Canada, and the first plane (registration code YI-ARF) is currently enroute to Baghdad, which is just under ~5,770 miles away. On the evening of Thursday, January 6, 2022, the plane operated the ~3,130 mile flight from Mirabel (YMX) to Manchester (MAN), in a flight time of 6hr51min.
The crew is just resting for the day in Manchester, and then it’s expected that the plane will take off this evening for Baghdad (BGW). This will be the shorter of the two segments.
Iraqi Airways has a pretty cool fleet
Iraqi Airways has just over two dozen planes, and it’s a surprisingly modern fleet, all things considered, with the average age of planes being under 10 years.
Iraqi Airways’ narrow body fleet isn’t terribly exciting, and includes:
- Six CRJ-900s, in an all economy configuration
- Three A320s, in an all economy configuration
- Two A321s, in an all economy configuration
- 13 Boeing 737-800s, featuring both business class and economy
It’s the wide body fleet that I find to be much more intriguing. Iraqi Airways’ wide body fleet includes:
- One Airbus A330-200, featuring both business class and economy
- One Boeing 777-200LR, featuring both business class and economy
- Two Boeing 747-400s, featuring both business class and economy; one used to fly for Japan Airlines, while the other used to fly for Malaysia Airlines
What’s interesting is that with the exception of the 747s, most of these planes were purchased new. That’s in contrast to neighbor Iran, which is known for having to buy very outdated planes, given the embargos in place from Airbus and Boeing.
Boy, as an avgeek I’d sure love to eventually fly Iraqi Airways and connect in Baghdad, flying an itinerary that includes both an A220 as well as either the 777 or one of the 747s. How cool would that be?! The major problem for Iraqi Airways is that the airline is banned from much of Europe for the time being over safety concerns. I know the airline is trying to fix that, but any sort of significant expansion seems tough until that’s addressed.
In theory Iraqi Airways also ordered 10 Boeing 787-8s and 16 Boeing 737 MAX 8s over a decade ago. However, I haven’t heard much about this in recent years, so it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s going on there.
Iraqi Airways is in the process of taking delivery of its first of five Airbus A220s. The Baghdad-based carrier will no doubt be one of the more “exotic” A220 operators, and I can’t wait to see this plane enter service. Looking at Iraqi Airways’ fleet overall, the avgeek in me sure is tempted to plan a trip sometime down the road when international travel gets a bit easier.
Has anyone flown with Iraqi Airways, or find the airline to be as interesting as I do?