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 Kurdistan’s airports worried about Baghdad’s airspace control

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Kurdistan’s airports worried about Baghdad’s airspace control  9.7.2012  

Video: Press TV. See Related Links
July 9, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — The Iraqi government’s tight control of Kurdish airspace is a growing concern for Kurdistan’s airports as political relations between Baghdad and Erbil continue to sour. Kurdish airport directors say Iraq’s government could close airspace without warning, meaning planes could not land.

Kurdistan’s government has no control over the region’s airspace. Airport officials say urgent action is needed to address this major issue.

Airport directors say they have already started to feel pressure from Baghdad. They say it is becoming more difficult to get permission for landing private jets, while Kurdistan must seek Baghdad’s permission for every inbound and outbound flight. Airline operators must also ask for Baghdad’s permission.

Airport directors say a change in aviation law is needed urgently. The current laws date back to 1974 and plans to amend the law were rejected because they gave no authority to Kurdistan. Iraq’s constitution only gives authority to the central government to control all airports.

Kurdistan has two main airports and plans are underway to build a new airport on Duhok. Kurdistan does not get any of the income made from its airports. All of the money goes to Baghdad.

There is no Kurdish representative in Iraq’s Civil Aviation Agency and the agency is not independent but belongs to Iraq’s Transport Ministry. Kurdish airport officials say this complicates matters. Airport officials in the region want an aviation authority in Kurdistan with at least some power to control aviation affairs.

The Iraqi Civil Aviation Agency told local media that Baghdad should control aviation, and that two authorities would lead to confusion.

But Kurdistan’s Minister of Transportation and Communication, Jonson Siyaoosh, said the Iraqi government is merely trying to politicize civil aviation law along with oil and gas and other outstanding disputes between Erbil and Baghdad.

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