An Iraqi Airways plane sits on the tarmac at Baghdad International Airport. Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: Iraq plans to work seriously to reduce the prices of airline tickets for travellers on Iraqi Airways flights, against the background of the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, local media reported.

Iraqi Minister of Transport, Nasser Hussein Al Shibli told Iraqi newspaper Al Sabah on Sunday: “The Ministry of Transport is seriously studying measures to reduce airline fares and expenses for passengers on board Iraqi Airways aircraft, especially in the seasons that are considered comfortable to reduce flights and to secure a comfortable and safe environment for passengers against the backdrop of repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Al Shibli added: “Iraqi airline fares are currently good and reasonable, with the exception of the exceptional flights that are launched to bring back Iraqis stranded in some Arab and European countries, whose fares are somewhat high due to the departure of airplanes without passengers.”

He said: “The aviation sector in Iraq was affected by the pandemic and the closure of airspace in all countries of the world, which prompted some airlines to declare their bankruptcy as a result of the inability to secure salaries and large expenses to maintain aircraft and others financial obligations.”

The minister explained that the national airline owns a fleet of 31 modern aircraft that meet the needs of Iraqi Airways, “and there are efforts to support the Iraqi air fleet with planes, and open lines to operate the aircraft stationed at Iraqi airports because of the ban imposed on them.”

The minister said: “The Ministry of Transport is serious about activating bilateral agreements between the Civil Aviation Authority and some Arab countries. A standard of reciprocity has been set for dealing with countries that have closed their airspace to Iraqi aircraft if there are no real justifications. Therefore, the ministry will resort to closing Iraqi airspace to such aviation traffic from these countries.”