Tuesday, December 04, 2007

On Flying from Erbil

The below article was published on AUgust 27, 2007. When I returned from my summer vacation in Istanbul, I was so overwhelmed with being back in Kurdistan that I forgot to write about the shock I experienced when I discovered that Austrian Airlines had discontinued service to Erbil! Sigh... Although perhaps a selfish sentiment, I feel rather put out by this now that winter vacation is soon upon us here at the university. Rather than being able to book a reasonably-priced and reliable trip out to meet our respective connecting flights home, we are left with rather less attractive options:

  1. Bite the bullet and fork out $900.00 US to take Royal Jordanian to Amman and book onwards from there.
  2. Fly Inshaallah Airlines to Istanbul, Dubai or Frankfurt and cross our fingers that the flight actually goes on scehdule and meets our connecting flights.
  3. Go overland to Turkey, somehow get to Istanbul and fly out from there.

It has been rumored that Austrian will be back in Erbil as early as February 2008. Too bad that it will be just a little too late... (I am planning to go home via option 2).

Statement: KRG and Austrian Airlines optimistic flights will resume | Iraq Updates: "The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and and its airport authorities are in discussions with Austrian Airlines, and all are hopeful that the airline will resume flights between Vienna and Erbil. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was informed by Austrian Airlines on 25 August that it has decided to temporarily suspend flights between Vienna and Erbil International Airport. Austrian took the decision following an alleged incident at Suleimaniah Airport reported by the pilot of Nordic Airways, a Swedish charter airline, earlier this month. After thorough investigation, the KRG has found no evidence of foul play at or near Suleimaniah Airport. The Erbil International Airport authority understands Austrian Airlines’ concerns that led to its decision, even though the alleged incident took place at another airport and KRG investigations have found no evidence of foul play. The cities of Erbil and Suleimaniah and their international airports are peaceful. Security in and around both airports is the KRG’s highest priority and is maintained to the highest degree. The KRG, Erbil International Airport and Suleimaniah International Airport are in discussion with Austrian, and all sides hope and expect Austrian Airlines to continue to operate its very successful and popular flights to Erbil. Meanwhile flights from Dubai, Istanbul, Amman and other cities to Erbil and Suleimaniah have maintained their regular schedules."

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