08/24/2004, 00.00
JORDAN - IRAQ
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Iraqi Airways makes first test flight from Amman to Baghdad

Test is first step to resumption of commercial flights in Iraq.

Amman (AsiaNews/AFP) – An Iraqi Airways Boeing 737 made a test flight from Amman to Baghdad yesterday. It was the first time for an Iraqi plane since 1990 when United Nations imposed sanctions following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. For Iraq this is further indication that things are improving and getting back to normal.

"It was a test flight and the passengers were exclusively Iraqi Airways staff and crew," said Adnan al-Hadid, technical manager and head of the Iraqi Airways agency in Jordan. "Iraqi Airways will make arrangements for other flights in light of today's test. Maybe in a week," he added.

Royal Jordanian is the only airline company that has maintained commercial flights to Iraq. Clearance for take off and landing in Baghdad is still in the hands of coalition forces; they have been using the capital' international airport as a military base and a maximum security prison for high ranking officials from Saddam Hussein's regime.

Iraq's former interim transport minister Benham Polis said in May that "the company had US$ 300 million to lease or buy aircraft from Airbus and Boeing". Still, Iraqi Airways' fleet is still waiting for the right to take off. It includes Boeing 727s and 707s. Six aircrafts are grounded in Jordan and four in Tunisia. (DS)

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