In the first six months of 2018, the number of international commercial aircraft utilizing airports in Iraq increased by 140 percent, resulting in more revenue for the government, Rudaw reported.
The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (IAAC) stated "the number of international flights using Iraqi airspace has increased, reaching 13,118 flights in the first half of 2018 and increasing by 140 percent."
"The total income of using Iraqi airspace has reached $26,341,799, which has delivered to the government's treasury,” added the director of financial section of the IAAC on Saturday.
The cash-strapped country has five international airports: Baghdad, Najaf, Basra, Erbil, and Sulaimani. Iraq announced plans to reopen an international airport in Kirkuk. Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, had its airport badly damaged during the ISIS conflict.
Iraqi Airways is considered to be the oldest airline carrier in the Middle East.
“Iraqi Airways is always seeking as the country’s national carrier to upgrade and develop and to take advantage of all opportunities and abilities available to implement them in the service of travelers,” Iraq’s transportation ministry stated on Thursday.
The ministry added Iraqi Airways’ Baghdad-London flight-time has been reduced by an hour because the flight now refuels in Sofia, Bulgaria, instead of Malmo, Sweden.
Airports in the Kurdistan Region were closed to international flights from September 29, 2017, until March 19. The closures followed an order by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi following an independence referendum by the Kurdistan Region on September 25.
Iraq’s interior ministry controls the flight schedule. The KRG and Baghdad created a Directorate for Special Protection under which federal and regional authorities jointly work to administer the airports in Erbil and Sulaimani.