Airlines begin suspending flights into Kurdistan, after warnings from Baghdad

Airlines begin suspending flights into Kurdistan, after warnings from Baghdad
Wed Sep 27, 2017 14:10:37

Turkish airline Pegasus announced on Wednesday it would immediately suspend flights into Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, after an independence referendum on Monday, according to local media reports.

(middleeasteye) -- Lebanese carrier MEA also announced it would suspend flights from Friday, citing an Iraqi government decision to suspend international flights at the airport, MEA Chairman Mohammad al-Hout said by phone.

"For now, we're stopping. The last flight is on the 29th, until they solve the issue," he told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Iraqi government gave the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) three days to hand over control of its airports in order to avoid an international air embargo, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday evening, according to state TV.

Baghdad last week asked foreign countries to stop direct flights to the international airports of Erbil and Sulaimaniya, in Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) territory, but only Iran declared such an air embargo, halting direct flights to Kurdistan.

Turkey's border remains open, for now, minister says

Turkey's border with northern Iraq remains open, although that does not mean it will remain open, the Turkish customs minister said on Wednesday, adding the number of trucks passing through the border had decreased.

Bulent Tufenkci, who was speaking on live television, also said he did not believe that the developments in northern Iraq would have a big impact on Turkish trade.

President Tayyip Erdogan has said Iraqi Kurds would go hungry if his country halts the flow of trucks and oil across the border, warning that Turkey could take military and economic measures against its neighbour after the referendum on Kurdish independence. 

(Photo: airlines-inform)

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