Baghdad-London flight ends in disaster
April 30 - The first commercial flight between Baghdad and London that was operated after 20 years ended in disaster when Iraqi Airways’ chief had his passport seized while the chartered planed was impounded. According to the details,the transport ministry in Baghdad said that Iraqi Airways chief Kifah Hassan's travel document was taken after papers were served by lawyers acting for Kuwait Airways, which says that the Iraqi Airways owes $1.2 billion to the latter.
The row apparently goes back to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 during which 10 of Kuwait Airways planes were looted after the airport was seized. "When the airplane arrived at Gatwick (airport) in London, the lawyer for the Kuwaiti authority tried to seize it, but he failed, because the airplane belongs to a Swedish company," said transport ministry spokesman Akil Kawthar.
"But they did not stop, and presented a lawsuit on the British company that contracts with Iraqi Airways, then got a decision from the British authorities to prevent the director general of Iraqi Airways from leaving London. They took his passport and all other documents that he has," said Kawthar.
Meanwhile, Kuwait Airways was unavailable for comment.
Update: Iraq officials called on Kuwait on Thursday in a bid to prevent legal action being taken against Iraqi Airways. A lawyer for Kuwaiti authorities got a British High Court order to prevent the director general of Iraqi Airways, who is currently in London, from travelling and seized his passport, Iraq’s transport ministry said in a statement. “The ministry is surprised at these provocative acts by the Kuwaiti authorities... whenever Iraqis are trying to open a new window to the world,” the transport ministry said.
“We urge our Arab brothers to pressure the Kuwaitis to stop such behaviour, which does not help both sides to forget the past and open a new page in bilateral relations.”
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