BAGHDAD, IRAQ July 1, 2003 – The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) issued a notice today inviting commercial airlines to submit applications to provide commercial air service to Baghdad.
Although no firm dates have been set, this solicitation is a positive sign that the re-opening of Baghdad International Airport is imminent. Preparations are also underway to return civil aviation to Basrah International Airport this summer and eventually open Mosul Airport to international air traffic for the first time.
"The re-opening of passenger service to Baghdad International Airport will be a boost for the economy and an important milestone in re-introducing Iraq to the world’s civil aviation community," said L. Paul Bremer, the coalition's senior administrator.
Airlines interested in providing service are invited to file applications with the CPA. The CPA will select on or about July 10, 2003 those companies which they judge will best serve ongoing reconstruction efforts to develop the Iraqi economy and restore its civil aviation services.
Selected airlines must be prepared to conduct at least two flights per week. In addition, they should be prepared for a maximum 2-hour ground turnaround without fueling, catering or other ground services. Applications will be considered for regional or worldwide services, but initially there will no cargo services.
Teams have been working continuously to address the many issues required to re-establish Iraq’s civil aviation program.
"Infrastructure, customs, immigration, safety and security are the keys to open the doors to civil aviation here," said Stephen Browning, Senior Advisor for Transportation and Communications.
The United States will provide radar separation for air traffic. Australia and the United Kingdom will proved terminal air traffic control at the Baghdad and Basrah airports respectively.
The 1st Expeditionary Red Horse Group and the 447th Air Expeditionary Group airfield lighting crew teamed with the Civil Engineer Maintenance, Inspection and Repair Team from Tyndall AFB, Fla. repaired the runway and establish airfield lighting.
This team installed more than five miles of airfield cable and installed more than 150 edge-way, taxiway and threshold light fixtures with individual transformers, in addition to repairing the existing lighting system, which was neglected for more than 12 years.
The re-introduction of passenger services to Iraq will include stringent safety criteria and increased security measures.
"The flying public can be assured that when the Baghdad Airport opens it will be among the safest and most secure airports in the world—we will allow nothing less," said Frank D. Hatfield, Senior Advisor for Civil Aviation in Iraq.
Resumption of commercial over-flights through Iraqi airspace will generate funds to fuel civil aviation and the Iraqi economy. Revenues generated will be put into a civil aviation operations account on behalf of the Iraqi people. These funds will pay for basic service contracts let to companies augmented by Iraqi nationals until wholly by Iraqi nationals.
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