Sulaimaniyah (IraqiNews.com) Kurdistan Region’s Sulaimaniyah Airport has denied reports that the central government in Baghdad had partially lifted an embargo it had it had imposed on flights to and from the facility.
In a statement on Tuesday, the airport’s press service said it had not yet received any response from the Iraqi government regarding the lifting of the embargo.
Some media outlets had circulated a government bulletin telling that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had approved flight exceptions for Kurds eager to perform Islamic “Umra” pilgrimage (performed in the holy lands in Saudi Arabia).
The Baghdad-based Iraqi government had imposed an embargo on flights on Kurdistan’s Sulaimaniyah and Erbil airports following a vote for independence the autonomous region’s government ran in September, which Baghdad deemed illegal.
Recent reports have pointed to imminent talks between both governments to resolve pending disputes over the administration of the region’s airports as well as other contentious subjects.
As part of talks to end the crisis, Baghdad has asked to hand over management of the airports to its central aviation authorities.
In January, Shafaq News quoted Taher Abdullah, Sulaimaniyah Airport chief, saying that passengers numbers at the terminal declined by 86% after the embargo. He said that the airport had used to record the arrival of 50.000 per month before the embargo, which declined after the measure to 6000-7000 per month.
Iraqi Alqurtas News quoted Abdullah saying on the same occasion that the airport recorded the entrance and exit of 485000 passengers in 2017, a drop of 7 percent from the preceding year.