The history of aviation in Iraq dates back to the year 1933, as the first airport was opened in Baghdad, and was one of the finest three air ports in the world in terms of capacity, efficiency, and modern equipment as at international airports at the time.
And the airport administration was annexed to the Ministry of Economy and Transport, and in 1934 was attachable to the Ministry of Defense, the airport had been used by three companies and they are: aviation empire, Dutch, and French.
Abdul Razzaq al- Hilali says in the “Glossary of Iraq” in 1956 that Iraqi Airways has an honorable history They are at the forefront of the civil aviation companies in the Middle East , which its planes are going inside Iraq and in neighboring countries and gained good fame and reputation that made it in the position of confidence and contentment by everyone of Iraqis and foreigners.
In April 1956 the ( the Iraqi Airways service) operated a flight between Baghdad and London and between Karachi and Mumbai and Baghdad.
and ( the service of the Iraqi Airways) continued since 1956 till 2003 to set its foot on the right path, and thus increased the popularity of these lines that it ‘s own a clean history of flying hours which was not exposed to any problems or disasters and a glorious history in securing air travel safety and both elements of reliance and accuracy in keeping the appointments.
And in 2007 and 2008 Iraqi Airways were having 30 aircraft , most of them were modern aircraft that five of which entered service and the rest were very modern and , there are other aircraft waiting to receive from manufacturers, that was on the aircraft level but on the level of staff ,some qualified pilots who have worked with it in the s eighties of the last century are still leading the aircraft, and they all graduated from flight school in Oxford, but they are very few in the mid of a new cadre chosen on sectarian and party and favoritism bases to the extent that bandaged health person works in the airline has been sent to study aviation and graduated; because he was one of the elements of a particular militia.
And among chapters of corruption in the Iraqi Airways the adviser Ahmed al – Saadawi ,who holds Canadian citizenship and he was a person close to former Prime Minister Nuri al -Maliki ,advised Maliki to purchase 10 Canadian aircraft at a price of $ 27 million per aircraft, without coordination with the Ministry of Transport, and the price is high, and it is not commensurate with the technical aircraft specifications .
Among notes on the performance of Canadian aircraft type Bombardier that its Engines need to be changed every 2500 hours of flight with a price million and half million dollar for each engine changed except for the cost of the transporting the Engines to Canada , and when compared it with the aircraft type Boeing 737 which priced at $ 42 million and bought by Iraq with $45 million , we notice there were a big differences noting that the Canadian aircraft accommodates 70 passengers , whereas the US can accommodate 180 passengers , along with other factors , such as the factors of comfort and air freight capacity .
With the chaos of Iraq today, Iraqi Airways committed some irregularities deliberately, which the European Union called for preventing aircraft from flying in its airspace, including: the negligence of communications during the flight, and the deviation from the course of aircraft line sometimes smoke in the cockpit, and the preoccupation with personal talk , and convert the aircraft to a place for a sectarian Shiite rituals.
The European Aviation Safety Agency Easa asked in 2014 the Iraqi Airways to provide the European standards of security and safety in its aircraft , as in other European airlines companies . Iraqi Airways started its flight to Europe in a year 2013 after a stop since 2010 because of what was called at that time a problem with Kuwaiti Air ways the it was required from Iraqi Air ways to apply the agreement of the third country in order to conduct of its flight to London that the Iraqi Air ways ought to land in the third European country to make sure of security and safety standards in the aircraft before permission of its landing in Landon and at that time the Malmo city south of Sweden was chosen due to the large size of Iraqi community there and its approach to Denmark but the lines changed the path and opened a new line which was Baghdad – Vienna – London .
Other reasons that called t the European Union also for the prevention of Iraqi Airways planes from flying in its airspace:
– the negligence of communications during the flight, and the lack of standards of European safety and security .
– the discovery of Smoking by the Austrian authorities in the cockpit in which pilots tried to hide it by spraying perfume .
-invalidity of oxygen bottles and fire and the lack of biting seat belts and there ‘sno baby seats.
– Pilots are not familiar with load sheet and distribution of weights.
– Ages of Captain and Assistant to exceed the legal limit
-Engineers of airline do not speak English nor understand something about the engineering of aircraft.
– Friends of the pilot of travelers were allowed to enter the cockpit of leading .
– amazement of Australians of the existence of co – pilot with a rank of pilot and he was very young that is not commensurate with career progression.
– Officials in lines brought architects for maintenance of Pakistanis for the rehabilitation and maintenance of aircraft who refuse any Iraqi engineer or – workers to accompany them in the process of rehabilitation and maintenance despite the fact that this is contrary to the terms of the contract which provides for the rehabilitation of Iraqi workers and engineers.
Austria has banned aircraft lines from landing at their airports due to a significant lack of documents and technical equipment and after the intervention of officials to end the problem of Austria, the two parties Iraq and Austria agreed that the landing of Iraqi Airways planes again in Austria on condition to address the technical problems and shortcomings and problems of the pilots.
British authorities also prevented Iraqi Airways on 08.02.2014 while the Swedish authorities prevented Iraqi aircraft from landing at their airports on 5/8, a
spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority in the United Kingdom confirmed that Iraqi Airways can be used leased planes – Wet Lease – to continue its services to the United Kingdom. A meeting was held on 02.12.2014 in Austria with a view to the operator’s commitment to (Iraqi Airways) international standards to improve the actual performance of safety, as the IAEA had received a confidential letter included a reference to the allegations of non-compliance for the operating procedures, and poor performance of flight crew, and that the data is not updated or non-existent, and the administration is inefficient and ill-store spare parts (potable and non-potable use), the tendency to violate guidelines of ATC air traffic controllers.
Due to the seriousness of these allegations , the agency called for verification of its correctness because the European Commission to look at this information in the framework of Regulation (EC (2111/2005, NO where it means to prevent Iraqi Airways from landing at European airports.
one of workers at the Iraqi Air ways said in a statement to the newspaper al-Gad Press that the Europeans were visiting Iraq and recommend to fix many of logistic, technical and administrative errors ,and the most important is the delay of taking off and landing of the plane which is always out of schedule , indicating that one of the reasons is the delay of fuelling because Iraq does not have except only one Bowser which is a special system for fuelling oil for aircrafts noting that the cost of Bowser per $ 480,000 as the technical agent for the ministry of transport refuses to purchase for unknown reasons .
and the Air Safety Directorate bear reasons by 60% to prevent Iraqi aircrafts from landing in Europe in which its director must be an engineer or pilot or have a high potential for administration but what was happening that the administration , however , are in the hands of people who are incompetent and away from the specialization in this sector. Pointing out that one of the five planes owned by Iraqi Air ways of Hajj and Umrah exposed to the engine failure so the technical experts hired the engine with an amount of $500,000 per month note that the cost of repairs is much lower than this wages
Also , the Civil Aviation Authority contracted with Egyptian pilots and Greeks to meet the shortfall in the number of pilots , but after a while the contracts of the Greek pilots were cancelled in spite of the high efficiency and keep the Egyptian pilots , who their period of flying must be up to 300 hours a week and the cost of the pilot to fly up to $ 100 per hour and up to $ 260 in the case exceeded the sixty – hours
, while the Iraqi pilot , according to the safety laws do not allow him to fly only 60 hours per month .This means that the Egyptian pilot dues of up to 50 000 $ a month while the salary of the Greek pilot , which is the most efficient up to 10 000 $ and Iraq up to 13 000 $ so that Iraq is capable of rehabilitation of military pilot training courses for civil aviation at a cost of 50 000 $ only.
The book No. 12/13/101/3200 dated 18/12/2014 issued by the Ministry of Transport , G. E. Civil Aviation /Flight Safety Department of the Iraqi Airways included several irregularities committed by the lines, and the representative of SAFA Trevor Woods , who praised the accurate follow – up of the authority of Iraqi Aviation and the closure of most of the reports that spotted the irregularities stressed that in the case of repeated alerts and recording the same defects during the inspectors ‘SAFA for the inspection process as well as the existence of reports for more than 4 months that has not been submitted corrective measures and no action was taken by Air ways and not even a pursuit by cadres of lines.
the most frequent defects contained in the book above:
– it does not update the operations manual and rely on the production version , and not altered by Iraqi Airways to commensurate with its operational capacity, and the lack of data charts, and the accounts of mass and balance are incorrect.
– Not to modify the guide of the list of minimum damages(MEL) including checklists, and do not update the charts for the wireless navigation .
– Lack of preparation for the trip, and ensure overall condition of the aircraft before takeoff.
In book No. 834 dated 18/03/2015 directed from the Ministry of Transport , Public Establishment of Civil Aviation / Department of air safety to Iraqi Airways in response to the book No. 72 dated 10/18/2014 regarding the renewal of an air investor certificate granted to the company AOC001 that the Ministry of Transport replied that the sections of the company should be subject to inspection and made a local exposure on the company ‘s departments and found the following in relation to quality assurance and is not updated the maintenance manual as appropriate for manual of safety related to grant the investor AOC certificate, and does not update the operations manual , guide of security training curriculum guide..
As for the shelter of aircrafts , the ministry of transport indicated
To the absence of the major extinguishing system and replaced by minor extinguishing system and the lighting is inadequate and the shelters are not clean and the warehouses does not have special store for tires according to the international standards in terms of controlling the temperature , humidity , lighting , this affects the safety of the aircraft and there is no store to preserve oils noting they are flammable materials and were stored with spare parts of aircraft and does not update the data entry process in line with modern technology which facilitates the trading process by technical staff and regarding the operations , prepare pilots table by at least 24 hours so that the crew can get rest to preserve the safety and non the presence of the safety instructions cards corresponding to the type of aircraft and the appointment of main directors in sections of the company without the consent of the Iraqi civil Aviation authority
At the date of 03.19.2015 in book No. 869 directed from the ministry of Transportation to Iraqi Airways company / Quality Assurance Department , document noted to the Message of the Director of aviation standards in the European Aviation Safety Agency ESFA which include continuing violations that were discovered on board of the former Iraqi aircraft mentioned above .What refers to the apparent malfunction of the crew and the crew of hosting, engineering and operations and the lack of information and expertise.
The Iraqi transport ministry continued to send official letters to the Iraqi Air ways company in order to apply the demands of the international civil aviation to carry out and follow up the reports issued from SAAFA and in case of violation the work with the licenses will be stopped and this is also what was mentioned by the document directed from the transport ministry to the Iraqi Air ways company dated 29-3-2015 number 1657 related to that they don’t update the evidences as soon as the latest versions issued from the aircraft factory or updating the date of amendment and the charts and invalid graphs and clear weakness in the preparation of the trip n addition to the mistaken calculation of the mass and the balance .
The document emphasizes No. 806 dated 03.11.2015 from the Ministry of Transport ,Public Establishment of Civil Aviation to / Iraqi Airways Department of Quality Assurance emphasizes the focus on observations with respect to the stores which also have been mentioned and focus on the clearance of materials, parts stored of aircraft out of the service and lack of storage cumulatively which caused the suspension of flights by Iraqi Airways to Europe under an official letter from the foreign ministry / European department to the Ministry of transport / Office of the Minister dated 12.14.2015 No. 5017/53/5/7 at the Brussels meeting, which the most important observations were : answers of the Iraqi delegation were unconvincing in the manner that allows for the lifting of the embargo and the existence of a lack of information provided by the delegation , which pointed to the conditions experienced by the country and to stop the trips since 1990 and the desire of the Iraqi side to bypass the problems and correct mistakes.
The document issued by the Prime Minister ‘s Office and a personal secret number 455 dated 28-2-2016 to the national security advisory called for the formation of a working team for the verification about the failures of the Iraqi Air ways company as it got the approval of the Prime Minister on the recommendations to continue the follow-up, and implement what was included in the recommendation, and the minister of transport bears the primary responsibility for the failure of follow-up and the wrong interventions and incorrect appointments and severe central and finally to nominate a person for the management of the G.E.Civil Aviation .
Translated by : Mudhaffar Alkusairi
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies