Baghdad airport welcomes first European passenger flight in 18 years

18 years after the United Nations imposed a ban on all commercial air traffic destined for Iraq, a Swedish charter plane has landed at Baghdad International Airport.

The charter was operated by Nordic Leisure and their 150 passengers were mostly Iraqis.

This is just the beginning of what should become a fairly popular route, as many Iraqis are in Europe waiting to return to their homeland. KLM/Air France recently signed an agreement for direct flights to Baghdad from several European locations.

Baghdad airport has seen a slowly increasing number of other flights in recent years, though most of it involved cargo flights. Regular scheduled passenger flights have greeted the airport from destinations like Jordan and Dubai since 2003.

Pre 1991, most major airlines in the world had Baghdad on their schedule, including weekly flights on British Airways from London. BA had originally planned to return to Baghdad in 2003, right after President Bush declared “Mission Accomplished”, but when violence on the road to the airport reached an all time high, the plans were delayed.

(Via: Google News/AFP)