For more than two years, the European Aviation Safety Agency has imposed a ban on Iraqi Airways flying in European airspace for safety reasons.
The International Organization for Aviation (ICAO) has warned the ban of the registration of Iraqi civil aviation in Europe, pointing out that Iraq is one of the founders of the organization which was established in 1944, to take over the administration and management of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.
The organization works with the 191 member states to adhere to principles that guarantee the development of international civil aviation in a safe and orderly manner, and to establish international air transport lines on the basis of equal opportunity and investment in an economic and sound manner.
One of the Organization’s most important strategic objectives is to improve the safety of global civil aviation by focusing on the regulatory control capabilities of States, increasing the capacity of the global civil aviation network and improving its efficiency.
Although this strategic objective is functionally and organizationally dependent on safety, it is based primarily on the modernization of air navigation and airport infrastructure and the development of new procedures to optimize the performance of the aviation network.
The Global Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency Plan (Global Plan) sets out the main activities for the three-year period.
The objective of the Organization is to achieve security and provide facilities by enhancing and facilitating the security of global civil aviation. This strategic objective reflects the need for ICAO’s leadership role in aviation security and facilities and related border security and to achieve the economic development of air transport through the promotion of the network civil society characterized by safety and economy, and an air transport framework that focuses on economic policies and supporting activities.
The organization works to achieve environmental protection by reducing the adverse environmental impacts of civil aviation activities.
Therefore, as a founding member, Iraq must abide by the provisions of its charters and implement the laws and regulations related to civil aviation, thus enhancing the trust of the Organization and its members in the State of Iraq represented by the authority of civil Aviation .
Since 2015, Iraqi aviation has witnessed major setbacks in the Iraqi civil aviation sector, which has had serious repercussions, and has been reflected negatively in several areas:
1. Iraqi Airways was banned from flying to Europe in July 2015, until the moment of writing of the article, because of its failure to comply with the safety standards of the European Aviation Safety Agency (ALSA).
2- The Ministry of Transport did not care about this ban. Instead of dealing with it, it contracted with the Turkish airline Atlas Jet to give it Iraqi Airways planes to fly to Europe at a very high price! So instead of addressing with the problem, the crisis was exacerbated and its negative impact increased on the economy. After that, the contract of the Spanish experts was canceled and the Consultant of AlSA was removed, so that the lifting of the European embargo on the Iraqi Airways Company is not known, especially since the contract of the Turkish company renews automatically and without competition for two consecutive years?
3. The instructions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) clearly states the non-interference by government in the work of the Civil Aviation Authority in order to ensure that it is free from pressure and that it applies national and international laws and regulations impartially. However, the current Minister of Transport interfered in the Authority’s decisions in favor of service providers and on the first is Iraqi air ways , He was a defending lawyer for their failure, and this was made abundantly clear by commenting on the authority’s letter – the air safety department to Iraqi Airways which required them to comply with air safety standards and implement the requirements of the European Safety Agency for their return to the European airports , as the Minister said in his comment: “Whoever reads the observations of the Department of Air Safety feels that the said section reviews its rhetorical capabilities to express its Schadenfreude on the performance of the lines, if the Air Safety Section was one of the traffickers in this regard, what we would get from the provision of its advice,” he is not satisfied with this response , he even wrote a letter to the General Corporation of Civil Aviation , in which he attacked the director of the air safety department at the facility and accused him of creating obstacles to the activities of Iraqi Airways.
The Minister made an explicit legal violation as the Director of the Aviation Safety Section at the General Civil Aviation Corporation and the Assistant Director General were replaced by two staff members of Iraqi Airways, where the responsibility of controlling the service providers (airlines, airports, air control, etc.) can not be assigned to its subordinates thus they become the judge and the opponent at the same time.
Thus the minister also fired a “bullet of mercy” on the Iraqi civil aviation authority in addition to banning Iraqi registration in Europe and the world.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) affirms that its members must abide by its laws and regulations, including Iraq, which is in compliance with the Iraqi civil aviation authority. The organization stressed that whoever interferes in the affairs of the Authority as if he interferes with the judge’s decision and this is not realized by Iraqi transport ministry where the international standards for the member authority in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the credibility of the Iraqi civil aviation authority is the subject of question in relation to the application of laws which is not isolated from the government pressure and thus ban the registration of Iraqi civil aviation by the European Agency has been justified, the failure of the Iraqi lines for three years in the application of the standards of European safety, and that interference in decisions by the minister weakened the aviation authority.
The head of the Parliamentary Services Committee, MP Nazem al-Saadi, stressed that “the spread of corruption” in the Iraqi Airways prevents any effort to lift the European ban on them, pointing out that “the work of the TCO Committee on lifting the European ban has stopped” and that “European prevention is continuing for more than two and a half years thanks to Corruption that establishes the continuation of the corrupted contract Atlas Jet , a contract for the operation of three aircrafts in the European air space with a Turkish company, “and that” corruption has reached to the extent where the heads of departments in the lines to provide false information to the regulators to cover the dire situation that the company reached to . ”
Al-Saadi said:”The report submitted by the Air Transport Association (IATA) consultants in August 2017 proves that the work of the TCO Committee has stopped,” pointing out “This confirms the trend of the corrupt management of the company to prevent any effort towards lifting the European ban.”
Saadi added that “all the procedures of this administration, which help to continue corruption and the continuation of European prevention is fully monitored by the regulators and will be held accountable for administrative and technical procedures that lead to the continuation of European prevention indefinitely,” stressing that “the management of lines should take the lesson from the procedures of the prison sentences which were recently issued and included the former director general of the company and the assistant director general and some heads of departments because of rampant corruption and that the judiciary will reach sooner or later for anyone who dares to misuse the public money.
The consequences of the ban on Iraqi civil aviation: –
• Not accepting any aircraft registered in Iraq to fly to Europe and the countries that will apply the embargo later.
• Give justifications to the aviation authorities of the countries of the region and neighboring countries to enforce the ban on the grounds of non-compliance by Iraqi civil aviation with international air safety standards, which would legally allow them to prevent Iraqi Airways and other national carriers from using their airspace and airports without Iraq having the right to do it reciprocity.
• To force all airlines registered in Iraq to rent planes from other airlines to avoid the ban and here the loss of companies and Iraq is becoming double.
• Hundreds of Iraqis have lost their jobs because companies have stopped working.
• The investment in the Iraqi air transport has stopped completely and the country has become a hotbed for the region’s airlines to benefit from it and then , the country will suffer from annual losses estimated by billion of dollars and in addition to the five billion dollars invested from the Iraqi people in buying planes for the Iraqi Airways will go into the wind.
• If the European ban on Iraqi civil registration is applied, it will not be lifted for at least ten years and the country will therefore suffer heavy losses.
To correct the situation of Iraqi civil aviation and solve its problems to get out of the embargo, it is necessary to do the following:
• Return of the IATA consultant to the Iraqi Airways Company and payment of dues.
• Implement the European Safety Agency standards in order to obtain the authorization of the operator of the third country ( TCO ) from the European Agency .
• The focus of the IATA consultant’s work is on the implementation of European Safety Agency standards in order to obtain the authorization of the third country operator TCO from the European Agency and set a specific time period for this year to meet the requirements of the European Agency and in the event not to do that , the month of may , 2018 will be the deadline to submit what is required to the European Air Safety Agency (IASA).
• Full cooperation between the management of the Iraqi Airways and the Civil Aviation Authority with the IATA advisors and implementation of the required thing to achieve the goal.
• The IATA Advisory Group shall submit a monthly report to the Prime Minister’s Office on the progress of the work and indicate the obstacles, if existed, with a view to resolving them.
• The Minister of Transport shall issue a letter to Civil Aviation canceling his letter to Civil Aviation No. 1 / K / 858 dated 11/2/2018 entitled “Intersections of the Air Safety Section” in which he fully supports the application of national and international laws and regulations by the Civil Aviation Authority, Department of Air Safety to send a positive message to the European Aviation safety Agency and ICAO.
• Canceling the appointment orders of Iraqi Airways employees to civil aviation to send another positive message to the European Agency, ICAO and other aviation authorities with the independence of the Authority and non-interference by the government in its affairs.
• The Civil Aviation Authority exercises its supervisory and regulatory role as stipulated in the laws and regulations without governmental interference from the Ministry of Transport.
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies