RealNews

Airlines Covet Access to Baghdad Once Safety Worries Are Allayed

While airlines are severely cutting service to cities in this time of industry crisis, many are jockeying to begin flights to one of the world’s more unlikely destinations: Baghdad. More than 20 airlines, including British Airways, Lufthansa Airlines and Air France, have applied to fly into and out of Baghdad International Airport. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has already listed the city in its reservations system, with flights set for four times a week beginning Sept. 1, provided it receives the necessary approval. A quick call to a travel agent last week showed that fares for the first round-trip KLM flight from Amsterdam ranged from 990 euros, or about $1,140, in economy class, to 2,890 euros, or about $3,320, in business class — hot meals and a movie included. Relatively high fares are the least of a traveler’s worries, though. Resistance fighters are still trying to shoot down planes approaching Baghdad International Airport with portable surface-to-air missiles. Land mines are being planted nightly on a main road leading to the airport, a senior insurance executive said. And daily guerrilla attacks are occurring on American and British convoys. Full Story

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