• Thursday, 25 July 2024

Turkish Flight Suspension Impacts Sulaymaniyah Airport Growth

Turkish Flight Suspension Impacts Sulaymaniyah Airport Growth

In a recent development impacting Sulaymaniyah Airport, the Turkish government's ongoing suspension of flights to and from the airport has significantly affected its growth and operations, according to a report by the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA).

The ICAA's comparative report for the annual growth of Iraqi airports between 2023 and 2022 reveals a striking 20% decrease in yearly growth for Sulaymaniyah Airport. This decline stands in stark contrast to the growth experienced by other major Iraqi airports, namely Baghdad, Erbil, and Basra, which have reported increased activity during the same period.

The cessation of flights between Sulaymaniyah Airport and Turkey has persisted for over a year, impacting various sectors reliant on air connectivity between the two regions. Ata Anwar, president of the Sulaymaniyah branch of tourism agencies and companies, highlighted the adverse effects of this suspension on tourism, business, and education, stressing the importance of resuming flights for economic vitality.

Dilshad Namiq, president of the Kurdish Monitoring Center for Political Development, echoed concerns over the decline in flight operations, emphasizing the economic repercussions faced by Sulaymaniyah Airport and the wider province due to decreased revenue.

The suspension, initially imposed for three months starting April 3rd, 2023, was subsequently extended until December 3rd, 2024, and most recently for an additional six months. Turkish authorities cited concerns over increased activities of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the region as the primary reason behind the extended flight ban.

The impact of this ongoing suspension has been keenly felt, with tourism experts attributing the decline in growth directly to the lack of flights to Turkey, a crucial destination for both leisure and business travelers.

Efforts by stakeholders, including the Iraqi Aviation Authority and local tourism agencies, are underway to urge for a resolution to this issue, advocating for the reinstatement of flights to Sulaymaniyah Airport to revitalize economic activity and restore essential air links between the two regions. The situation remains dynamic, with hopes pinned on diplomatic efforts to address the underlying concerns and facilitate the resumption of flights for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.