Qatar Airways plans to start a regular service to Iraq once insurance problems are ironed out, joining a host of flights to Baghdad despite the UN air embargo, a newspaper reported on Wednesday, March 1.
"We are ready to operate flights to Iraq anytime. But we require permission to do so," the airline's chief executive Akbar Al-Baker said, quoted in Gulf Times.
He said a planned chartered flight to Baghdad last week had been called off due to insurance problems, which would also have to be sorted out before the regular service is launched.
"As a civil carrier, we are under some obligations. We could not have flown to Iraq on the designated day without paying the additional premium sought by insurance underwriters," said Baker.
He said Qatar Airways needed an extra coverage of $62,000 for each flight to Iraq. "Ours is not the only airline which has faced cancellation problems. Four other carriers too faced a similar situation," said the airline chief.
Baker gave no dates for a launch, but airline sources told Gulf Times that the chartered flight to Baghdad could take off after next week's Muslim holidays.
Several dozen Arab and European planes have flown to Baghdad since last August when the Iraqi capital's airport was reopened, in a challenge against the sanctions regime slapped on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. — (AFP, Riyadh)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )