Baghdad International Airport

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Baghdad International Airport
مطار بغداد الدولي

<tr><th colspan="2" align="left" valign="top">Airport type</th><td colspan="2" valign="top">Public and military</td></tr><tr><th colspan="2" align="left" valign="top">Operator</th><td colspan="2" valign="top">United States Air Force/Iraqi Government</td></tr><tr><th colspan="2" align="left" valign="top">Serves</th><td colspan="2" valign="top">Baghdad</td></tr>

Elevation AMSL 111 ft (34 m)
Coordinates 33°15′45.14″N, 044°14′04.48″E
Direction Length Surface
ft m
15R/33L 10,767 3,282 Concrete
15L/33R 13,103 3,994 Concrete
Inside view of the terminal, showing an abandoned FIDS in front of empty check-in desks and passport control.

Baghdad International Airport (IATA: SDAICAO: ORBI) (Arabic: مطار بغداد الدولي; formerly Saddam International Airport) is Iraq's largest airport, located in a suburb about 16 km (10 miles) west of downtown Baghdad.

Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the airport was named Saddam International Airport after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Although the name was changed in the invasion's wake, Baghdad retains its former IATA airport code of SDA (although some airlines use the code BGW). Its ICAO airport code was ORBS, but changed to ORBI in 2003. The airport and the surrounding military complex are referred to as BIAP (buy-op) by coalition civil and military authorities.


[edit] History

[edit] Pre-1991

Saddam International Airport was constructed with the assistance of French firms between 1979 and 1982 at a cost of over $900 million. (The French had provided Iraq with airports, factories and weapons without payment leaving them with $4 billion in unpaid bills. [1]) It was designed to accommodate both civil and military operations, and can handle up to 7.5 million passengers per year in aircraft of all sizes. The passenger terminal consists of three gate areas, each named after the capital of an ancient empire: Babylon, Samarra, and Nineveh; these have now become simply A, B, and C.

The airport also had its own VIP terminal, which had a luxuriously furnished and decorated lounge, conference room and bedroom. This terminal was used by Saddam Hussein to welcome foreign leaders and other people of significance.

It is the hub for Iraq's international airline, Iraqi Airways, and it was once served by several other international airlines. On December 25, 1986, Iraqi Airways Flight 163, a Boeing 737 flying from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan, was hijacked. It later crashed in Saudi Arabia, killing 63 people.

[edit] 1991-2003

Most of Baghdad's civil operations stopped in 1991, when the United Nations imposed restrictions on Iraq after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War. Because of the no-fly zone imposed on Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom, Iraqi Airways was only able to continue domestic flights for limited periods. Internationally, Baghdad was only able to receive occasional charter flights carrying medicine, aid workers, and government officials.

[edit] 2003-Present

Former Saddam International Airport

On April 3, 2003, United States forces led by the 3d Infantry Division seized Saddam International Airport just prior to the invasion of Baghdad, and then immediately changed the name to "Baghdad International Airport".

By mid-year, the airport was occupied by a small city of tents and trailers housing 10,000 American servicemen. the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided a budget of over $17 million to restore the terminal and airfield to operational status. A make shift Burger King restaurant was established by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) at the U.S. 1st Armored Division headquarters sector of the airport in June 2003. It consisted of several modular container units and was staffed by Filipino and Sri Lankan nationals.

The most visible and notable building in this area was the Bob Hope Dining Facility, a large, white, fabric-skinned, elongated dome. President George W. Bush made a surprise visit to the Bob Hope on November 27, 2003 and had dinner with the servicemen present.

The Bob Hope Dining Facility and the entire coalition installation on the eastern side of the airport terminal area was dismantled and the area abandoned prior to the 2004 turnover.

Image:20041028 8-p36048-26-515h.jpg
President Bush visits the troops at the Bob Hope Dining Facility

Terminal C, one of three gate areas, has been spruced up with new potted plants and polished floors. The duty-free shop has reopened as well. Also, the "Saddam" signage was removed from the terminal buildings and replaced with "Baghdad". All paintings depicting the former leader have now been removed.

There are still renovations on-going throughout the airport to return it to its former self.

Even though the duty free is open, the US military posted at Baghdad have restrictions in using the facilities by General Order No. 1.

[edit] Current status

The airport officially reverted to civilian control on August 25, 2004. Iraqi Airways and Royal Jordanian Airlines currently operate regular flights to Amman, Jordan, and DHL operates civilian cargo service. However, the airport's perimeter is regularly threatened by Iraqi insurgents; aircraft taking off and landing at the airport climb and descend in a spiral pattern directly over the airport in order to avoid coming within range of small arms and missiles on the ground. A DHL Airbus cargo plane was hit by a surface to air missile shortly after takeoff from the airport in 2003, in what was later known as the DHL shootdown incident. The aircraft performed a successful emergency landing but suffered serious damage to its left wing. The terminal area is currently secured by a private force of 500 Iraqi and Gurkha guards. The main road from the airport to downtown Baghdad, nicknamed "Route Irish," is infamous as one of the most dangerous routes in the world.

British Airways, Air Canada, American Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic Airways have all expressed interest in operating services from Baghdad to the US, Canada, and UK in the near future.

On November 8, 2004, as part of a general US and Iraqi assault against Fallujah, Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi closed the airport for 48 hours, with the stated reason of preventing terrorists from leaving the country.

On April 29, 2005, Air Scotland announced its intentions to begin a Glasgow-London Stansted-Irbil-Baghdad service. The service would be carried out with Tristar jetliners. They intended to begin this route in November 2005, but does not appear to have been started yet.

There have been 2 closures due to pay rows between the British Contracting firm that provides security and the Iraqi Transportation Ministry. Both of these led to 48 hour closures. The second time this occurred, Iraqi troops were sent in to fill the roles left behind. After the second closure, the Iraqi Government agreed to pay 50% of the bill.

In March 2006 the US contractor, Custer Battles, was found liable for fraud in connection with contracts for the US Government in Iraq. This was the first time that the False Claims Act has been used against a contractor in Iraq. Further accusations, still to be tried in court, relate to a US$16 million contract for securing Baghdad International Airport. One alleged act of fraud involved stealing Iraqi Airways ground handling equipment (forklifts) at the Baghdad International Airport, repainting them as if they were new, and then using contract funds to purchase the stolen property.

[edit] Airlines

The terminals currently serve the following airlines

[edit] Coalition Installations

The following is an alphabetical list of installations within the BIAP military perimeter:

[edit] External links

ja:バグダード国際空港 sv:Bagdads internationella flygplats

Baghdad International Airport

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