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kaitak
Topic Author
Posts: 9999
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 1999 5:49 am

Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:00 pm

On Saturday last, I flew GF from Bahrain to London - a very good flight with a fine airline, but I was concerned that we flew right over Iraq - from Basra right up north, exiting over Turkish airspace.

OK, GF is an Arab airline and I'm not sure if BA or other European carriers do this, BUT given the unrest and near civil war conditions in Iraq, it can hardly be unthinkable that some maniac would use a shoulder held missile to bring down a commercial plane; I have to admit to having felt a little nervous about the prospect of flying over Iraq on a cloudless day in broad daylght. Even though it was an Arab airline, the kind of person capable of shooting down an airplane isn't going to be particularly concerned about its nationality.

While it may be a shorter routing, it is questionable whether it is sensible.
 
HBDAN
Posts: 560
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:05 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:09 pm

I remember that on my September and November 2005 flights from Milan to Dubai and back with EK, we did not enter Iraq airspace (flying over Iraq would have reduced flight time). I was surprised in reading that you passed over it! Have a look at those picture that you often see on A.net asking you to indentify some aircraft... those pics are taken from the ground... so think what someone could do with some technology and a bad idea!

Regards,
HBDAN
Next flight: hopefully soon...
 
EDDM
Posts: 221
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 12:15 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:15 pm

Not that easy at cruising altitude. A Stinger won't do, for example.

Quoting fas.org:
Ceiling 10,000 feet (3.046 kilometers)
 
bhxdtw
Posts: 1161
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:28 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:16 pm

hmmm

could a shoulder Surface to Air missile hit an airliner at 35,000 feet which is moving at 500-600 mph ?
I didnt think that was possible ?

Joe
 
HBDAN
Posts: 560
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:05 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:25 pm

To be honest I have no idea about weapons, but if EK had to avoid flying over Iraq I guess that it was because something could be used and be successful in shoting down an aircraft...

But as I have said, no idea if it is possible or not!

Regards,
HBDAN
Next flight: hopefully soon...
 
ANother
Posts: 1833
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:47 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:29 pm

Quoting HBDAN (Reply 4):
ut if EK had to avoid flying over Iraq

More likely to have involved potential conflict with warplanes in operation at that time.
 
bhxdtw
Posts: 1161
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:28 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:33 pm

Also, it could quite simply be due to political purposes and the fact that there is also a lot of military aviation in the area.
I dont know if this would be the case but could it be that if civillian airliners were allowed to cross Iraq this could lead to a higher chance of military jets having to be more vigilant for civil traffic ?

After all, civil airliners are still allowed thru other 'hot spots' where trouble could occur... i.e parts of Africa and such (ref: Sabena approach into Bujumbura in 2000 i think)
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
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RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:56 pm

No danger at all from anything man-portable, at that height.

Besides, we all tend to think that airliners are primary targets for 'terrorists', probably because of 9/11; but it's worth remembering that the 9/11 airliners were not actually the targets, they were hijacked for use as weapons against buildings.

Airports are very secure now, and there must be a high risk of any attacks failing through the protagonists being caught. Madrid and London showed that attacks on trains and buses can cause a lot more casualties, with a much higher chance of success due to the impossibility of making them secure.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
oli80
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:18 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:28 pm

The last time I flew GF from London to Bahrain was October 2004 and we did not fly over Iraq. We took the southerly route over Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia into Bahrain.

I recently (3 weeks ago) flew QR from London to Doha and back, and on the outbound journey we flew the Syria, Jordan and Saudi route, whilst on the return leg, we flew north out of Doha over Iran and in to Turkey.

Whilst GF may feel there is no threat/problem flying over Iraq, QR obviously does.

Does KU fly over Iraq? I think probably not.
 
bhxdtw
Posts: 1161
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:28 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:53 pm

Quoting Oli80 (Reply 8):
Does KU fly over Iraq? I think probably not.

Yes I believe they do...
a report in an Airways magazine on this was published in 2004.
 
INTENSS
Posts: 310
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 9:25 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 12:24 am

Commercial aircraft fly over Iraq all the time.


-Rich

[Edited 2006-03-13 16:24:35]
 
JoeCattoli
Posts: 491
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 1:06 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 12:48 am

Actually I flew DXB-FCO end of January with EK and we still did a loop over Iran to avoid Iraqi airspace... I was surprised about that because I thought at FL340 it is quite safe... Anyway I don't know if something has changed in the meantime or if it happens that sometimes Iraqi airspace is open. May be it require a permit to pass that is only given time to time...
Ciao
Joe
 
HBDAN
Posts: 560
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:05 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 1:00 am

Quoting JoeCattoli (Reply 11):

I think also people flying out of ZRH, CDG and Germany in general should have had some experience flying on EK! I become crazy, someone has overflown Iraq, someone has not... Share with us please!

BTW: Nice nick name Joe!
 Smile

Regards,
HBDAN
Next flight: hopefully soon...
 
hodja
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2004 6:41 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 2:57 am

On TK out of KWI to IST in january 2004, checking the inflight air map, the flight very distinctly kept out of Iraqi airspace, trailing the Saudi border on the departure from Kuwait.

It's my impression that commercial airliners keep out of Iraqi airspace not due to hand held SAM's or the like, but rather because Iraq is US CENTCOM controlled military airspace, and they don't want commercial traffic cluttering up their operations.

Eventually they'll allow commercial traffic through.

SK for instance routinely overflies Afghanistan on their CPH-BKK route. Initially Afghani airspace was off limits for some time...
 
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Fly-K
Posts: 3011
Joined: Thu May 04, 2000 4:26 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:07 am

I did about 20 flights from DXB to Europe in the last 2 years on EK and LH, and not a single one ever entered Iraqi airspace, it was either to the north over Iran or to the south via Saudi Arabia. I think the same was the case on EY and QR.
The only case I ever entered Iraqi airspace was on approach to KWI with LH.
Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been...
 
ehho
Posts: 769
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:26 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:18 am

Why would overflying Iraq be such a problem for EK and QR, when OS is actually contemplating flying to the place?
"Get your facts first. Then you may distort them as much as you please" -- Mark Twain
 
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N328KF
Posts: 6019
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 3:50 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:27 am

Quoting Kaitak (Thread starter):
While it may be a shorter routing, it is questionable whether it is sensible.

It's only questionable if you don't know the nature of surface-to-air missiles. As has been said, anything man-portable doesn't have the altitude capability, and anything that could hit an airliner at cruising altitude would not fail to be noticed by all of the U.S./U.K. ESM gear in the area.
“In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.”
-Donny Miller
 
Experimental
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 9:39 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 4:18 am

Last time I flew LHR-BAH-LHR was on BA and we flew right over Iraq at 39,000ft both times IIRC

I found this in the database:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Krzysztof Skowronski [epwa_spotters]



[Edited 2006-03-13 20:23:22]
 
StarGoldLHR
Posts: 1346
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 1:29 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 4:19 am

I recall a year or so ago I flew BA from LHR to BKK.
Outward we flew across europe, turkey, azerbaijan, eastern edge of china and down across india and the bay of bengal..
fine, skirted the edges of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan ...

coming back...

we went straight north over the bay of bengal, up through bangladesh through china right, inbetween kazahstan and mongolia straight into Russia reaching inbetween Novosibirsk and Irkutsk, we then turned above yekateringberg over st petersburg and down over stockholm and into London ! I took a picture of the TV Map as I amazed at the route!

Talk about staying right out of the way.. I was amazed how high we went, though we did arrive a little behind schedule it wasnt much considering where we just went !!!
So far in 2008 45 flights and Gold already. JFK, IAD, LGA, SIN, HKG, NRT, AKL, PPT, LAX still to book ! Home Airport LCY
 
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LAXintl
Posts: 25084
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 4:57 am

The coalition forces and Iraqi authorities have reactivated a basic airway network over Iraq over the last two years.

Routes are currently established that criss cross the country with North-South airway available from the Turkish Ankara FIR to the Saudi Jeddah FIR and Kuwait FIRs, and East-West airways from Syrian Damascus FIR, and Jordanian Amman FIR to the Iranian Tehran FIR. (The Iranian entry/exit point currently remains closed however)

Main ATC center has been formed in Baghdad with three area control centers operating, Ali-Southern Iraq, Balad-Central Iraq, and Baghdad for Northern Iraq, plus a host of individual towers for the 10+ operational airports.

Overflights are approved for civilian carriers at a minimum altitude of 20,000ft. Just as with any country prior approval is required for the overfights.

Many regional carriers plus European and Asian airlines now make use of the availability of the Iraqi airspace to save distance and time on their routes.

The latest edition of the Iraq AIP is availabe here;
http://ramcc.dtic.mil/forms/iraq_aip_edition_16.pdf
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
Thorben
Posts: 2713
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:29 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:24 am

I don't understand the controversy about it. Shoulder-fired missiles won't reach you at cruise level, AK-47s won't either. I doubt there is a missiles system left in Iraq (outside coalition control) that is capable of shooting down a target so high. Maybe that DHL A300 has made people a little nervous, but that one was flying rather low.
France 1789; Eastern Germany 1989; Tunisia 2011; Egypt 2011
 
twolz2rn
Posts: 391
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2005 10:03 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:55 am

I flew directly over Iraq on my way to Dubai with KL. Here's a pic of my PVT




...we did fly directly over Baghdad...
 
hodja
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2004 6:41 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:35 am

Laxintl, nice one... thumbsup 
 
ZB330
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2005 11:37 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:56 am

There is a fair amount of civilian traffic over Iraq. Used Gulf Air a little while ago from LHR-BAH and indeed we went straight over Bagdad. At that moment it suprised me because everytime i operate a flight to India we avoid Iraq.

But according to somebody of the coalition forces there is a fair amount of civilian traffic over Iraq which is no problem as long as they stick to the rules.
 
AMSSFO
Posts: 912
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:42 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:35 am

Quoting EHHO (Reply 15):
when OS is actually contemplating flying to the place?

OS postponed the start of the flights to Erbil indefinitely.....
 
byronsterk
Posts: 154
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:32 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:30 pm

I thought there are even already commercial services in to Baghdad... if that's possible why wouldn't they fly over it?
Helicopters can't fly, there just so ugly the earth repells them...
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 3:25 pm

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:48 pm

Landing there is a whole new ballgame, Byronsterk. That inevitably brings you down to the levels at which MANPADS ('MAn-Portable Air Defence Systems') are effective.

Last I heard, all aircraft have to approach and climb out in tight spirals, to stay within the limited radius around the airport that US forces can patrol.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
CV580Freak
Posts: 886
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 12:39 am

RE: Commercial Flights Over Iraq

Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:50 pm

Flew GF003 BAH/LHR yesterday and we routed over Iraq, must be the norm.
One day you are the pigeon, the next the statue ...

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