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News and Notices
Writer Web Admin Date 05/10/2017
Title Comments of Airport Director General, Talar Faiq, to meeting of the Erbil Diplomatic Community:
Content Comments of Airport Director General, Talar Faiq, to meeting of the Erbil Diplomatic Community:

In a move to keep Erbil's diplomatic community informed about developments of the airport, following the imposition of the international flight blockade on September 29, Ms Talar Faiq , Airport director, made the following comments.

Last week the airport closed to international flights - following the publication of a NOTAM by the Baghdad authorities that is in effect until December 29th, 2017
The airport today remains operational, Iraqi Airways, and the coalition military, are the only flights in or out. On Friday at 1800, not only did international flights stop - EIA's income ground to a halt too.
How long EIA can maintain operational readiness under these circumstances - we will see ?

Some simple facts :

• EIA's monthly exposure to salaries/ allowances/ fuel/utilities/ electricity/ cleaning/ maintenance is around $2.3m a month.
• We will be forced to suspend contracts with French and German companies worth $35m
• Since 2009, Iraqi Airways have not paid one dinnar for the services they receive at EIA - EIA's exposure to Iraqi Airways debt is $34m.
• They have not paid the ground handler since the middle of 2016 - more than a year behind.
• They are always late paying for the fuel they uplift at Erbil.
So we will continue to review the operation at EIA - for now we will continue to serve Iraqi Airways - we do not wish to be seen as provocative, or to be accused of escalating matters - but as you can see, there are some very practical issues to be managed.

Since the closure on September 29 , EIA has appealed to the United Nations - we firmly believe that the move to close airspace in this way is in contravention of the Chicago Convention - but it is up to member states to complain and raise the issue - EIA has no rights of audience at ICAO, the KRG have no rights of audience at ICAO - you represent countries, some of whom have airlines directly impacted by this measure - it is they who must challenge this abuse of power .

EIA has also approached IATA - its members, the airlines are directly impacted - we await a response. We will be writing to the head offices of all the airlines, lobbying for their intervention with IATA.

And as for Baghdad itself -
We have yet to hear, despite repeated requests, for them to detail what they mean by' handing over' the airports in Kurdistan.
We have always been regulated by the ICAA, we have always been responsive to their requests - only three weeks ago a team from Baghdad came to look at the cargo operation. Today, we have staff in Amman, Jordan, completing mandatory training, certified by the ICAA.
Since the commencement of commercial operations at EIA in 2006 - Kurdistan's airports have always cooperated and been responsive to its regulator in Baghdad.

The number of passengers travelling on Iraqi Airways is down by 50% since last week - many Kurds cannot travel to Baghdad - some, are banned ,others, fear for their safety.
Many ordinary citizens cannot travel overseas for medical treatment - NGO staff are leaving - the support for refugees and IDP's is clearly compromised.
Injured Peshmerga cannot leave for treatment overseas.
It is not entirely clear that international people leaving via Baghdad, with a KRG residency will be granted visa's in order to return. Baghdad will like nothing more than to drain the international pool of experts and workers contributing to the Kurdistan region - it is actively isolating this part of Northern Iraq.
So in conclusion - the actions by Baghdad are an abuse of power - they are having a real impact on the airport and its operation. It remains to be seen whether EIA cannot maintain operational readiness under such duress but we remain calm - you will see no knee jerk reaction from EIA.
We have sought, and still seek, dialogue and co-operation from Baghdad - to date that has not been forthcoming .

Thank you for your time today,
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