Skip to main content

So many Iraqi airports, so few planes

Iraq doesn't need more airports, but that's not stopping local governments from trying to build them.

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Even if it were true that Sumerians built the first airport at Nasiriyah in 5000 BC, as Iraqi Transport Minister Kazem Finjan claimed in October, they would be shocked at the state of Iraqi aviation today. While Kazem said Iraq's early settlers used the airport as a base for exploring space, allegedly even discovering Pluto, Iraqis today would be happy to discover planes at their local airport. The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority announced April 12 that a number of the country's airports will be rehabilitated, but as critics have pointed out, one small problem remains: There are not enough planes to serve them.

After Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in August 1990, the international community imposed an air embargo and other sanctions on the country, which were lifted in 2003 after the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein. Provincial and local governments, in an effort to catch up with developments in the global transport sector, sought to establish airports in every city, but with little apparent consideration given to providing the airports with the required equipment, including planes.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.