TEHRAN, Apr. 28 (Press Shia Agency) – Direct flights between from Tehran to Erbil, capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan, resumed on Friday six months after the Iraqi government imposed an air ban on the region in retaliation for an independence vote.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Abdullah Saleh, general manager of the Iran and Kurdistan region of Iraq relations, thanked the Islamic Republic of Iran for its mediatory role between Erbil and Baghdad to remove the air ban on international flights to KRG’s airports.
He noted that the resumption of direct flights between Tehran to Erbil was put off due to the advent of the Iranian New Year and Norouz holidays in March.
“Iranian airline ‘Mahan’ resumed flights between Tehran and Erbil today [Friday], which was warmly welcomed by the people of the region because a great number of Iraqi Kurdistan people need to travel to Iran for vacation, treatment, and visiting family members,” he said.
He further added that the resumption of Tehran-Erbil flights will be an important step toward expansion of economic ties between the Iraqi Kurdistan region and Iran.
Following a notice from the Baghdad government in September 2017 in response to KRG’s call for an independence referendum, foreign airlines suspended flights to Erbil and Sulaimaniya.
Iran re-opened a few border crossings with Iraqi Kurdistan in October and January, which were closed after the referendum at the request of Baghdad.
Talks are under way to resume flight to Sulaimaniya as well.