Erbil (Iraqinews.com) – Air flights between Sulaymaniyah, a city in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, and the Iranian capital Tehran will resume Sunday almost eight months after the Baghdad government imposed an air ban on the region in retaliation for an independence vote.
“The first flight between the Iranian capital Tehran and Sulaymaniyah International Airport will be operated tomorrow at 11 a.m. (local time),” the airport’s director Taher Abdullah told Iraqi website Alghad Press on Saturday.
“There will be two flights a week between the two cities via Iran’s Mahan Air airline,” Abdullah said, adding that the flights will be only for transporting passengers, not goods.
Taher expected air flights between Tehran and Sulaymaniyah to surge in the near future with the anticipated increase in the number of passengers.
Baghdad had suspended air flights to and from Kurdish airports after the Kurds voted overwhelmingly to break away from Iraq in a referendum held on Sept. 25, defying the central government in Baghdad as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran who have their own Kurdish minorities.
Baghdad has, since then, demanded Kurdish authorities to hand over the management of the two airports to the federal government. But last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi decided to lift the air embargo on the two Kurdish airports.