Subscribe

Passenger plane shot in Baghdad, airlines cancel flights

A prolonged disruption in flights could seriously limit travel options for Iraqi travelers and overseas businesspeople, diplomats, and aid workers.

  • close
    An Iraqi Airways plane lands at Baghdad International airport, January 27. Airlines from at least three countries suspended flights to Baghdad on Tuesday after bullets hit an airplane operated by budget carrier Dubai Aviation Corp, known as Flydubai, as it was landing at Baghdad airport. Company officials said Iraqi Airways and Iran's Caspian Airlines were operating flights to Baghdad on a normal schedule.
    Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Several airlines suspended flights to Baghdad on Tuesday after a passenger plane arriving from the Mideast's busiest airport in Dubai came under fire as it landed in the Iraqi capital.

A prolonged disruption in flights could seriously limit travel options for Iraqi travelers and overseas businesspeople, diplomats and aid workers who rely on foreign carriers to deliver them to larger international transit hubs, particularly in the oil-rich Gulf.

Iraqi Transportation Minister Bayan Jabr said authorities believe the shooting was unintentional — possibly from someone firing off rounds at a social event such as a wedding or funeral — but they are not ruling out the possibility that it was an intentional terrorist attack.

He said three rounds struck the plane, including one that penetrated the passenger cabin, and that a girl onboard was slightly wounded.

Security was tightened around the airport after the shooting. Officials have examined the location from where they believe the shots were fired, Jabr said, as he urged airlines to resume flights to Iraq.

Discount carrier FlyDubai said flight 215 was struck on the fuselage by what appeared to small-arms fire as it touched down Monday. All passengers were able to disembark normally and none required medical attention at the airport, the Dubai government-owned carrier said.

Passengers heading back to Dubai were put on a different plane. A FlyDubai flight due to depart to Baghdad on Tuesday has been cancelled.

The airline later said it was working with authorities to determine what happened but that the damage "at this early stage appears to be non-intentional."

The Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Iraqi ambassador to express its concern over the shooting and demanded that Iraqi authorities launch a "comprehensive investigation ... and take necessary measures to enforce international agreements on civil aviation safety," according to a ministry statement.

Dubai-based Emirates, the region's biggest airline, said it is suspending flights to and from the Iraqi capital because of "operational and safety concerns" until further notice. Emirates will continue to fly to the northern Iraqi city of Irbil and the southern oil hub of Basra.

Etihad Airways, based in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi, said it also was suspending its Baghdad service indefinitely following a directive from the Gulf country's civil aviation authority. Budget carrier Air Arabia, based in the emirate of Sharjah, near Dubai, also confirmed it was suspending flights.

Other regional airlines followed suit.

Both Gulf Air, the national carrier of the island kingdom of Bahrain, and Lebanon's Middle East Airlines cancelled their Tuesday flights to Baghdad.

Baghdad International Airport is surrounded by a vast and heavily guarded security perimeter lined with concrete blast walls, making it difficult for insurgents to fire on incoming planes.

Several airlines rerouted flights that pass through Iraqi airspace but aren't bound for the country last year as a precaution against Islamic State militants, who have seized large parts of northern and western Iraq.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK