First Saudi Airlines plane lands in Iraq after 27 years


October 31st, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

– – – translated by Samer Hussein –

A Saudi Arabian Airlines plane has landed at Baghdad International Airport for the first time in 27 years,  following a recent rapprochement in relations between the two countries. 

“The Saudi Arabian Airlines plane arrived at Baghdad International Airport on Monday evening at around 10 pm”, the head of the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority, Abbas Saad Al Khafaji, was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying, adding that the directors of the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority and Saudi Arabian Airlines, as well as Iraqi ambassador to Saudi Arabia, were on board. 

The plane took off from King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, about two weeks after the low-cost airliner Flynas made its first commercial flight between Riyadh and Baghdad since 1990.

Flights between Iraq and Saudi Arabia were suspended in August 1990, shortly after Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait. 

Al Khafaji pointed out that the arrival of the Saudi plane was received with honours and celebrations, as according to both, traditional and protocolar customs, while also stressing the need to strengthen cooperation between the two countries and launch new flight connections between the cities in Saudi Arabia and Baghdad.

For now, Saudi Arabian Airlines has scheduled two flights per day between the cities of Jeddah to Baghdad in both directions as part of its regular operational schedule, the Saudi news agency reported on its website. 

The move comes amid Baghdad’s quest for economic gains from its rapprochement with Riyadh. The latter is rather pleased with that as it seeks to counter the growing Iranian influence in the region, Iraq especially.

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