Iraqi Airways’ Gorgeous New Airbus A220-300

Iraqi Airways’ Gorgeous New Airbus A220-300

15

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…

Iraqi Airways Airbus A220-300

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.

Iraqi Airways 777-200LR

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.

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (15)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Andy Diamond

    Just a word of caution: Non-US-citizens who have visited Iraq, are banned from entering the US. So Iraqi Airways is off limits for us, I'm afraid.

    1. Jared Guest

      With a few exceptions: UN employees, aid workers, diplomats and journalists.

      I am not a U.S. citizen but fall into the last category and have therefore traveled to the U.S. and Iraq multiple times without difficulty.

    2. Jared Guest

      Sorry to bust your bubble; not only is it true but it’s also my experience.

    3. DCharlie Guest

      @Andy - your comment is false. I am a citizen of Singapore. I visited Iraq in 2017 and I have entered the U.S. multiple times since then. The only difference was that I couldn’t enter using an ESTA but now had to apply for a visa. Other than that, the process was straight forward with only one question on my travel to Iraq during my visa interview.

  2. iamhere Guest

    You mention the problem Europe, what about problems flying to other places and where can you fly to to/from Iraq?

  3. tipsyinmadras Diamond

    Iraqi Airways has a really fantastic livery, it's got a retro vibe without looking dated - looks great on the A220.

  4. Jamie Guest

    Wow. Great to see a Canadian in Iraqi colours at MAN. Makes a change from Jet2. Lol.

  5. BOE7X7 Guest

    Stay tuned for the 737 MAX

  6. Chuvash Guest

    Mrs Chuvash and I went to Iraq over Thanksgiving (they do visa on arrival since March) and we had a great experience. Everyone is very friendly and it felt surprisingly safe. I don't think there is much of a "points" angle here, but if you're feeling adventurous I would definitely go there.

    I would have loved to fly Iraqi airways from Bassra to Baghdad but we didn't get a chance

    1. Evelina Guest

      You are lucky, but for majority of travellers, visiting Iraq is a red flag in your travel history if you ever plan to apply for visas of certain countries. I still remember a few years ago, the amount of questions and justifications I had to provide the US Embassy in Stockholm of all places, explaining the 6 odd Russian tourist visa stamps on my passport

      But honestly, someday if the world becomes a better...

      You are lucky, but for majority of travellers, visiting Iraq is a red flag in your travel history if you ever plan to apply for visas of certain countries. I still remember a few years ago, the amount of questions and justifications I had to provide the US Embassy in Stockholm of all places, explaining the 6 odd Russian tourist visa stamps on my passport

      But honestly, someday if the world becomes a better place, I truly wish to explore Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, such beautiful countries but lost behind an ideological crisis

    2. Jared Guest

      Good choices.

      Lived in Syria just before the Arab spring became active. Out of the 180 countries I’ve visited, Syria before current day is easily in my top 5.

      The mountains of Afghanistan are gorgeous. Did an expedition for a documentary to spot snow leopards - simply godsmack!

  7. DFW Knight Guest

    Iraqi pilots are not trained well to land. Had many bumpy landings in IQ in the late 70s (before iran/iraq war and gulf wars so this was not a warzone landing).

    I’d love to go back and visit one day. Beautiful country, and looks like the airline has some beautiful new planes!

    1. red_robbo Guest

      So your experience from over 40 years ago still holds good? Bearing in mind that all the pilots from the late 70s will have long been retired by now? Or do you have inside knowledge of Iraqi Airways recent training?
      Nice logic, Knight.

  8. Mohammad Naqvi Guest

    I’ve flown Iraqi Airways quite a bit, and everything was super safe and professional. They’re definitely modernizing their fleet, especially with the new additions over the past 10 or so years.

    Baghdad Airport can be a little confusing, but you can totally connect internationally without leaving the sterile area.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

DCharlie Guest

@Andy - your comment is false. I am a citizen of Singapore. I visited Iraq in 2017 and I have entered the U.S. multiple times since then. The only difference was that I couldn’t enter using an ESTA but now had to apply for a visa. Other than that, the process was straight forward with only one question on my travel to Iraq during my visa interview.

0
Jared Guest

Sorry to bust your bubble; not only is it true but it’s also my experience.

0
red_robbo Guest

So your experience from over 40 years ago still holds good? Bearing in mind that all the pilots from the late 70s will have long been retired by now? Or do you have inside knowledge of Iraqi Airways recent training? Nice logic, Knight.

0
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT