Air India has resumed flights to Iraq with one carrying Shia pilgrims from Lucknow to the holy city of Najaf, after a 30 year hiatus.
"This is the first time in the last 30 years" for a plane to fly from India to Iraq, Pradeep Singh Rajpurohit, India's ambassador to Iraq, said at the international airport in Najaf. "We are very fortunate that the holy city of Najaf has been chosen as the first destination.”
He also pointed out that there has been attempts to restore direct air links for some time.
Flights from India had been banned due to long years of conflicts as well as sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime after his invasion of Kuwait, then the extended chaos that came following the Hussein’s downfall in 2003.