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Baghdad International Airport


Baghdad International Airport

Baghdad International Airport
مطار بغداد الدولي
Matar Baġdād ad-Dowaly


BGW is located in Iraq
Location of airport in Iraq
Airport type Public / Military
Operator Iraqi Government
Location Baghdad, Iraq
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 114 ft / 35 m
Direction Length Surface
ft m
15R/33L 10,830 3,301 Concrete
15L/33R 13,124 4,000 Concrete
Statistics (2009)
Total passengers 7,500,000 (estimate)
Source: DAFIF[1][2]

Baghdad International Airport (ICAO: ORBS)] is Iraq's largest airport, located in a suburb about 16 km (9.9 mi) west of downtown Baghdad in the Baghdad Governorate. It is the home base for Iraq's national airline, Iraqi Airways.


  • History 1
    • Pre-1987 1.1
    • 1987–2000 1.2
    • 2001–2004 1.3
    • 2005–present 1.4
  • Military use 2
  • Airport developments 3
    • Airline service 3.1
    • Expansion plans 3.2
  • Airlines and destinations 4
    • Passenger 4.1
    • Cargo 4.2
  • Incidents and accidents 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8



The present airport was developed under a consortium led by French company, Spie Batignolles, under an agreement made in 1979. The Iran/Iraq war delayed full opening of the airport until 1987. The airport at the time was opened as Saddam International Airport, bearing the name of the then-president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein.[3]


Most of Baghdad's civil flights 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 able to receive occasional charter flights carrying medicine, aid workers, and government officials. Royal Jordanian Airlines operated regular flights from Amman to Baghdad.


Inside view of the terminal in 2003, showing an abandoned and nonfunctional FIDS (note the red and white icon for the long-defunct East German airline Interflug in the fourth row from the bottom), in front of empty check-in desks and passport control

In April 2003, US-led forces invaded Iraq and changed the airport's name to Baghdad International Airport. The ICAO code for the airport consequently changed from ORBS to ORBI; the IATA code subsequently switched from SDA to BGW, which previously referred to all Baghdad airports and before that to Al Muthana Airport when Saddam was in power.

Civilian control of the airport was returned to the Iraqi Government in 2004.


The current entrance to Baghdad International Airport, 2007

Terminal C has been refreshed with three active gate areas for carriers operating from the airport.

Baghdad Airport Road, connecting the airport with the Green Zone, which was once a dangerous route full of IEDs, has been refurbished with palm trees, manicured lawns, and a fountain, with Turkish assistance.[4]

Military use

Within the airport there is a separate enclave called the New Al Muthana Air Base where No. 23 Squadron IqAF is based with three Lockheed C-130E Hercules transport aircraft and the home to a number of Sukhoi Su-25's.[5]

Sather Air Base or Camp Sather was a United States Air Force base on the west side of the airport. It was named in memory of Combat Controller Staff Sergeant Scott Sather, the first enlisted Airman to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sather was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor for his leadership of a 24th Special Tactics Squadron reconnaissance task force during the initial stages of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Airport developments

Airline service

Expansion plans

On 18 May 2010, plans were unveiled for an expansion of Baghdad International Airport, which will double its capacity to 15 million passengers per year. The expansion, to be funded by foreign investors, will include the construction of three new terminals and the refurbishment of the existing three terminals, which will each accommodate 2.5 million passengers annually.[7]

Airlines and destinations

A flying carpet sculpture on the wall at BIAP. (2011)


Airlines Destinations
Air Arabia Sharjah
AtlasGlobal Istanbul-Atatürk[8]
Blue Air Seasonal: Larnaca [9]
EgyptAir Cairo
Emirates Dubai-International[10]
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi (resume 27 March 2016)
FlyBaghdad Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen, Tbilisi [11]
flydubai Dubai-International
Gulf Air Bahrain
Iran Air Birjand, Isfahan, Mashhad, Shiraz [12]
Iraqi Airways Amman-Queen Alia, Ankara, Baku,[13] Basra, Beijing-Capital,[14] Beirut, Cairo, Delhi, Dubai-International, Erbil, Guangzhou,[15] Isfahan, Istanbul-Atatürk, Kuala Lumpur, Kutaisi, Mashhad, Mumbai, Najaf, Sulaymaniyah, Tehran-Imam Khomeini, Yerevan[13]
Mahan Air Isfahan, Tehran-Imam Khomeini
Meraj Airlines Tehran-Imam Khomeini, Mashhad, Kermanshah
Middle East Airlines Beirut
Nile Air Cairo
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen
Qatar Airways Doha
Qeshm Airlines Isfahan
Royal Jordanian Amman-Queen Alia
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk, Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen (begins 25 October 2015),[16] Antalya
UM Airlines Kiev-Boryspil
Seasonal: Kharkiv
Zagros Airlines Isfahan, Tehran-Imam Khomeini


Airlines Destinations
Click Airways Erbil, Sharjah
Coyne Airways Dubai-International
SNAS/DHL Bahrain
Etihad Cargo Abu Dhabi
FitsAir Dubai-International
RUS Aviation Sharjah
Silk Way Airlines Baku

Incidents and accidents

  • On 25 December 1986, Iraqi Airways Flight 163, a Boeing 737-200, flying from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan, was hijacked and damaged by a bomb in flight. The bomb exploded in the cockpit causing the plane to crash in Saudi Arabia, killing 63 of 106 on board.
  • On 29 November 1987, Korean Air Flight 858, a Boeing 707-3B5C, was destroyed by a bomb over the Andaman Sea, the bomb was left by two North Korean agents who boarded in Baghdad but got off in Abu Dhabi. The plane was flying the Baghdad-Abu Dhabi-Bangkok-Seoul flight. All 104 passengers and 11 crew died.
  • On 22 November 2003, a European Air Transport Airbus A300B4 freighter, registered OO-DLL, operating on behalf of DHL Aviation, was hit by an SA-14 'Grail' missile shortly after take-off. The airplane lost hydraulic pressure and thus the controls. After extending the landing gear to create more drag, the crew piloted the plane using differences in engine thrust and landed the plane with minimal further damage. All 3 crew survived. Civilians planes routinely perform corkscrew landings to minimise the risk of damage from surface weapons.[17]
  • On 26 January 2015, a flydubai Boeing 737-800 on a Dubai to Baghdad service, was hit by small arms fire on approach to Baghdad International Airport with 154 passengers on board. The plane landed safely.[18]

See also


  1. ^ Airport information for ORBI at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  2. ^ Airport information for SDA at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).
  3. ^ Technology transfer to the Middle East. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Arango, Tim (20 November 2014). "Amid Mutual Suspicion, Turkish Premier Visits Iraq".  
  5. ^  
  6. ^ "Etihad to start flights to Iraq". Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b L, J (13 October 2015). "Iraqi Airways Adds New Routes to The Caucasus from Oct 2015". Airline Route. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  14. ^ الخطوط الجوية العراقية. "الخطوط الجوية العراقية". Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  15. ^ "Iraqi Airways updates China Service from late-September 2014". 25 August 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "The opinion pollsters who dodged mortar fire and militias". BBC News. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  18. ^ "Boeing Hit by Gunfire in Baghdad". Airliner World: 83. March 2015. 

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • Baghdad Airport Arrivals and Departures
  • profile
  • Christian Science Monitor article on reconstruction, October 2003
  • Extensive photographs of Baghdad Airport – 12.07.2004
  • Accident history for BGW at Aviation Safety Network
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