Iraqi Airways Eyes Wet Lease Agreement For European Operations

Iraqi Airways has announced that it is looking for a wet-lease agreement. The carrier is inviting European operators to conduct services in the region on its behalf.

Iraqi Airways, YI-AST, Boeing 737-81Z
Iraqi Airlines is looking for a new partner within Europe. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

European ban

The Middle Eastern airline has been prohibited from operating in European Union airspace after a series of alleged safety lapses. The EU also stated that the firm was unable to provide sufficient documentation to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The ban has been in place since the summer of 2015, a year after the carrier applied to be a third country operator in the union.

Therefore, the Baghdad-headquartered company is looking for alternative ways to be able to reach European markets. Flight Global reports that the flag carrier of Iraq is seeking bids for wet-leases, or other suitable offers. These efforts are in hope for the airline to serve a schedule to European hubs.

Certain requirements

The successful bidder must have a valid European air operator’s certificate and must be registered in the region. Along with this, Iraqi Airways states that applications from airlines operating modern airliners within their fleet will be considered.

Iraqi AIrlines
Due to prohibitions by the European Union, the carrier is not allowed to operate across the region. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

Ultimately, the average fleet age of the bidding airline should not exceed six years. Along with this, the planes would need to hold a two-class configuration, including a business class cabin.

Furthermore, the firm adds that there must be reasonable time intervals between maintenance checks. Additionally, Iraqi Airways requires training for their crews to qualify them under EASA standards.

The airline may be looking at expanding its operations across the world amid remaining local tensions. Like Iraqi Airways’ ban over European Union airspace, fellow Middle Eastern airline, Qatar Airways, has been banned from operating over the airspace over four of its neighbors. The Doha-based carrier has therefore looked at partnerships in Africa to fulfill the revenue gap.

Iraqi Airways, YI-ARD, Airbus A320-214
Iraqi Airways will be hoping to increase its revenues by gaining a better presence outside of the Middle East. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

Strict legislation

In an effort to reach Europe, Iraqi Airways previously wet-leased an Air Explore Boeing 737. This aircraft was used to serve London Gatwick, Stockholm Arlanda, Copenhagen Kastrup, Frankfurt International, Düsseldorf International, and Berlin Tegel. With Europe being such a formidable market, Iraqi Airways will be eager to grow within the area.

The EU has strict regulations when it comes to the aviation industry. Earlier this month, the European Commission ordered an investigation into Boeing and Embraer’s planned partnership. Boeing is planning to take on 80 percent of the Brazilian firm’s commercial operations. However, antitrust legislation may impact the manufacturers’ proposals.

Simple Flying reached out to Iraqi Airways for an update on its plans but did not hear back prior to publication. We will update you with any further announcements.

Who do you think would be a suitable partner for Iraqi Airlines in Europe? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.