I just read on the bbc website that the first flight for 20 years between Baghdad in Iraq and London has taken off with Iraq Airways. It will be interesting to know how often these flights will take place now! Currently it is saying that there will be two flights weekly – via Malmo on its way to London, but non-stop on the way back.
The Iraqi Airways flight had been due to take off nine days ago, but was grounded by the volcanic ash cloud drifting over Europe.
The flight, nearly a year behind schedule, was the first since the UN imposed sanctions after Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
It was stopping in Sweden for security checks en route to Gatwick airport.
“A Boeing 737-400 Iraqi Airways flight left at 3pm (1200 GMT) for the first time in 20 years from Baghdad to London via Malmo,” Iraq’s civil aviation director, Adnan Blebil, told the AFP news agency.
Thirty foreign and Iraqi passengers were on board Flight 237, including transport minister Amer Abduljabbar Ismail and Iraqi Airways chief Kifah Hassan.
Their trip was delayed for many months, mainly because of security concerns in the UK and other EU countries.
Even then, events kept the plane grounded a little longer.
It should have taken off on April 16. But Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano erupted two days earlier, causing thousands of flights across Europe to be cancelled.
Mr Blebil added that there would be two flights a week, going via Malmo on the way to London, but non-stop on the way back.