WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Department of Transportation Friday approved the applications of three U.S. airlines to provide air service to Iraq.
Those applications -- on behalf of Northwest Airlines, World Airways and Kalitta Air -- still must be cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, according to a statement on Department of Transportation's Web site.
Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta said re-establishing air service to Iraq would aid in that country's recovery.
"While our action today is only an initial step to restoring air service, it is a significant step toward a safe and secure aviation link with Iraq," Mineta said in the statement.
It's not known when the air service to Iraq will begin.
According to the Department of Transportation statement, World Airways plans to provide passenger and cargo service between Washington Dulles International Airport and Baghdad, via Geneva, Switzerland. Northwest's application says it will operate passenger and cargo service between several U.S. and Iraqi cities, via Amsterdam. Kalitta -- a cargo service -- will fly between the United States and Iraq, with additional service to Kuwait and Jordan.
United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have existing certificates to fly to Iraq, the statement said.
This is interesting - and a good thing, I think, to get commercial service to Iraq going.