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Baghdad International Airport, Saddam International Airport
مطار بغداد الدولي
Matar Baġdād ad-Dowaly
IATA: BGW – ICAO: ORBI
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Summary
Airport type Public / Military
Operator Iraqi Government
Location Baghdad, Iraq
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 114 ft / 35 m
Coordinates 33°15′45″N 044°14′04″E / 33.2625°N 44.23444°E / 33.2625; 44.23444
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
15R/33L 10,830 3,301 Concrete
15L/33R 13,124 4,000 Concrete
Statistics (2009)
Total Passengers Increase 7,500,000 (estimate)
Source: DAFIF[1][2]

Baghdad International Airport, known as Saddam International Airport originally, (IATA: BGW, ICAO: ORBI) (Arabic language: مطار بغداد الدولي‎), is Iraq's largest airport, located in a suburb about 16 km (9.9 mi) west of downtown Baghdad in the Baghdad Governorate. It is the home base for Iraq's national airline, Iraqi Airways. It is often abbreviated BIAP,[3] although BIAP is not an official airport code. The airport road is having a makeover due to the rise in tourism and business taking place in the oil-rich nation.

History[edit | edit source]

Pre-1987[edit | edit source]

  • The present airport was developed under a consortium led by French company, Spie Batignolles, under an agreement made in 1979. The Iran/Iraq war delayed full opening of the airport until 1987. The airport at the time was opened as Saddam International Airport, bearing the name of the then-president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein.[4]

1987-2000[edit | edit source]

  • Most of Baghdad's civil flights stopped in 1991, when the United Nations imposed restrictions on Iraq after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War. Because of the no-fly zone imposed on Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom, Iraqi Airways was only able to continue domestic flights for limited periods. Internationally, Baghdad was able to receive occasional charter flights carrying medicine, aid workers, and government officials. Royal Jordanian Airlines operated regular flights from Amman to Baghdad.

2001-2004[edit | edit source]

Inside view of the terminal in 2003, showing an abandoned and nonfunctional FIDS (note the icon for the long-defunct East German airline Interflug in the fourth row from the bottom), in front of empty check-in desks and passport control

  • In April 2003, US-led forces invaded Iraq and changed the airport's name to Baghdad International Airport. The ICAO code for the airport consequently changed from ORBS to ORBI; the IATA code subsequently switched from SDA to BGW, which previously referred to all Baghdad airports and before that to Al Muthana Airport when Saddam was in power.
  • Civilian control of the airport is passed back to the Iraqi Government in 2004.

2005-present[edit | edit source]

The current entrance to Baghdad International Airport, 2007

  • Terminal C is refreshed with three active gate areas for carriers operating from the airport.

Airport developments[edit | edit source]

Airline service[edit | edit source]

  • The airport officially reverted to civilian control on 25 August 2004. Iraqi Airways resumed regular flights, and courier carriers also began flights.
  • On October 2008, Turkish Airlines launched nonstop service to Baghdad from Istanbul Atatürk International Airport with three weekly flights, thus becoming the first airline to resume service from Europe to the Iraqi capital since UN sanctions were imposed after the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
  • On 9 October 2009, Middle East Airlines announced flights to Beirut from Baghdad. Flights will operate 4x weekly from 29 October and soon after upgraded to daily service. They will use Airbus A320 aircraft for the flights.
  • On 17 April 2010, Etihad Airways announced they will launch passenger flights to Baghdad from Abu Dhabi from 26 April.[5]
  • In June 2011, EgyptAir announced the launch of flights connecting Cairo International Airport to Baghdad from 27 August 2011. The airline previously served the city in the early 1990s. Flights will be operated with Airbus A320 aircraft.
  • On 7 June 2012, Qatar Airways launched direct flights from Doha, four times a week.
  • On 6 March 2013, Iraqi Airways resumed direct flights from Gatwick Airport to Baghdad International Airport, flights will operate twice a week. This comes after a 23 year hiatus.

Expansion plans[edit | edit source]

On 18 May 2010, plans were unveiled for an expansion of Baghdad International Airport, which will double its capacity to 15 million passengers per year. The expansion, to be funded by foreign investors, will include the construction of three new terminals and the refurbishment of the existing three terminals, which will each accommodate 2.5 million passengers annually.[6]

Airlines and destinations[edit | edit source]

A flying carpet sculpture on the wall at BIAP. (2011)

Passenger airlines[edit | edit source]

Airlines Destinations 
Al-Naser Airlines Basra, Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen, Kuwait, Malmö, Najaf, Sulaimaniyah, Tbilisi
Austrian Airlines
operated by Tyrolean Airways
Vienna
Air Arabia Sharjah
Cham Wings Airlines Damascus
EgyptAir Cairo
Emirates Dubai
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
flydubai Dubai
Gulf Air Bahrain
Iran Air
operated by Iran Airtour
Birjand, Isfahan, Mashhad, Sari
Iraqi Airways Adana, Amman-Queen Alia, Ankara, Basra, Bahrain,Batumi,Beirut, Cairo, Copenhagen, Damascus, Delhi, Dusseldorf, Dubai, Erbil, Frankfurt, Isfahan, Istanbul-Atatürk, Kutaisi,[7] Kuwait, Kuala Lumpur, London-Gatwick, Mumbai, Mosul, Mashhad, Najaf, Sulaymaniyah, Stockholm-Arlanda, Tehran-Imam Khomeini
Kish Air Isfahan
Mahan Air Isfahan, Tehran-Imam Khomeini
Med Airways Beirut
Middle East Airlines Beirut
Qatar Airways Doha
Royal Jordanian Amman-Queen Alia
Syrian Air Damascus
Taban Air Charter: Isfahan, Mashhad
Turkish Airlines Ankara, Istanbul-Atatürk
Seasonal: Antalya
Zagros Air Isfahan

Cargo airlines[edit | edit source]

Airlines Destinations 
Click Airways Erbil, Sharjah
Coyne Airways Dubai
SNAS/DHL Bahrain
Etihad Crystal Cargo Abu Dhabi
FitsAir Dubai

Incidents and accidents[edit | edit source]

  • On 25 December 1986, Iraqi Airways Flight 163, a Boeing 737-200, flying from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan, was hijacked and damaged by a bomb in flight. The bomb exploded in the cockpit causing the plane to crash in Saudi Arabia, killing 63 of 106 on board.
  • On 29 November 1987, Korean Air Flight 858, a Boeing 707-3B5C, was destroyed by a bomb over the Andaman Sea, the bomb was left by two North Korean agents who boarded in Baghdad but got off in Abu Dhabi. The plane was flying the Baghdad-Abu Dhabi-Bangkok-Seoul flight. All 104 passengers and 11 crew died.
  • On 22 November 2003, a European Air Transport Airbus A300B4 freighter, registered OO-DLL, operating on behalf of DHL Aviation, was hit by an SA-14 'Grail' missile shortly after take-off. The airplane lost hydraulic pressure and thus the controls. After extending the landing gear to create more drag, the crew piloted the plane using differences in engine thrust and landed the plane with minimal further damage. All 3 crew survived. Civilians planes routinely perform corkscrew landings to minimise the risk of damage from surface weapons.[8]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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