Iraq to Upgrade Airports in Bid to Attract More Airlines

According to a report in Gulf News, the Iraqi government is approving master plans for airport investment around the country as it seeks to attract more airlines.

A vision for the expansion of Baghdad International Airport has been in place for the past five years, but the government has now approved the master plan, said Dr Adnan Blebil, director-general of the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority.

The plan doubles the size of the current airport and will add another three terminals, cargo centres, and free zone. A business park of one-and-a-half square kilometres will include conference and exhibition facilities, shopping malls, and hotels.

Connections to the existing rail and highway network just 1km away and an Aviation Academy are also afoot. The eventual expansion would create 70,000 jobs and, potentially, annual revenues of $2 billion.

“We’ve had interest from different groups over the years but nothing concrete yet. Anyone who is serious can start immediately. The airport is a very secure area surrounded by the military, ideal to invest in,” Blebil said.

Security is still on the minds of many potential investors. “We need investors with courage and money,” Blebil joked, adding that now is the right time to start investing as better security and an investment law are in place. The recent elections may have ended up in a hung parliament, but they managed to show that democracy is alive and well in the country which is headed in the right direction.

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