Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued an executive decree on Tuesday to allow international flights to land again in Erbil and Sulaimaniya, in the autonomous Kurdistan region. These would be the first flights since Baghdad ordered the two airports closed to international routes in September 2017 after the Kurdistan region held an independence referendum.
The order by Abadi was announced on Twitter by an account of the government of Iraq. It says the order to open the airports will be implemented within a week and will be in “compliance with the rules of Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority.”
According to Kurdish media outlet Rudaw, the airports will come under the Federal Interior Ministry and be run in coordination with security forces in Baghdad. This will include “biometric systems” linked to Baghdad.
Kurdistan Regional Government Interior Minister Karim Sinjari commended the decree.
“The reopening of the airports is a step in the right direction toward resolving impending issues between the region and Baghdad.”