Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani today hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a new international airport in Duhok.
Duhok International Airport will be the third airport in the Kurdistan Region. After its completion in 2015, travellers will have direct international access to each of the Region’s three provinces.
Speaking at the event, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of airports to the ever-growing trade, investment and tourism in the Kurdistan Region. “The building of airports in all of Kurdistan’s provinces paves the way to the outside world. This is a vehicle to open up a Region that is closed to the world. This airport is a bridge between a land locked nation and the outside world,” he said.
Emphasising the progress that the Region has experienced over the past several years, the Prime Minister said, “The steadfastness of the Kurdish people, and the assistance of our friends around the world, has allowed us to reach this day,” adding, “…this is a national achievement even more than it is just an airport for Duhok province.”
The Prime Minister went on to thank the international companies participating in the project, including the Lebanese Dar Al-Handasa Engineering, which designed the facilities, ADPI of France, Makyol construction company, and a team from South Korea’s Incheon International Airport which will supervise the construction.
Kurdistan’s other two airports in Erbil and Slemani already provide direct flights to more than 25 destinations in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Commercial flights to Erbil began in 2005, and the $550 million state-of-the-art Erbil International Airport (EIA) opened for business in March 2010. Now one of the fastest growing airports in the world, EIA saw a 37% increase in traffic between 2010 and 2011, for a total of 620,000 passengers. And in the first two quarters of 2012, passenger numbers indicate that the growth rate will rise to around 50% this year.
The Deputy Minister of the federal Iraqi Ministry of Transport, who has provided a great deal of support to the project, was present at today’s ceremony, as was the Head of Iraqi Airways and representatives from the Iraqi Aviation Authority.
In addition to many members of the local business and diplomatic communities, the ceremony was also attended by the KRG Minister of Transport and Communication, Mr Jonson Siyaoosh, the Minister of Municipalities and Tourism, Mr Dilshad Shahab, and the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, Mr Rasheed Tahir.