News ID: 213394
Published: 0308 GMT April 17, 2018

Tehran to resume direct flights to Erbil

Tehran to resume direct flights to Erbil

Iran will soon resume direct flights from Tehran to Erbil, a city in Iraq's Kurdistan, after a lapse of almost six months, said an Iranian official on Tuesday.

Flights will operate again from April 27, announced Iran's Consul General in Erbil Morteza Ebadi, according to ISNA.

Foreign airlines suspended flights to Erbil and Sulaimaniya in September 2017, following a notice by the Baghdad government, which controls Iraqi air space. Ebadi said talks were also underway to resume flight to Sulaimaniya.

Iran reopened a few border crossings with Iraqi Kurdistan in October and January, which it had closed at the request of Baghdad.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on March 13 that the airports of Erbil and Sulaimaniyah were 'again open to international flights' after the federal authority was restored at the hubs.

Tensions flared up between the region and the central government in Baghdad after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a highly controversial plebiscite on secession on September 25 last year.

The referendum was held despite strong opposition from Baghdad, the international community, and Iraq's neighboring countries, especially Turkey and Iran.

Following the provocative vote, Baghdad imposed a ban on direct international flights to and from the Kurdish region and called for a halt to its independent crude oil sales.

Since the air ban was enforced, all Kurdistan-bound international flights were rerouted to Baghdad, which has also imposed entry visas for foreigners wishing to visit the Kurdistan region.

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