Iraq Regains Airspace Control

The Air Force recently handed control of Iraq’s final airspace sector to the Iraq Civil Aviation Authority, returning airspace sovereignty to the Iraqis for the first time since 2003. Iraqi air traffic controllers took full responsibility for managing the Baghdad/Balad Airspace sector—the busiest in the country—and now are directing all commercial traffic to Iraq’s five international airports. “The transfer of control of the Baghdad sector was the culmination of a multi-year effort . . . to help Iraq develop a self-sufficient, national air traffic control system,” stated the US Embassy in Baghdad on Thursday in a release. Aviation infrastructure must continue developing, but the event is “a significant step forward in providing an essential service to the people of Iraq,” it reads. The Air Force opened the Baghdad Area Control Center in 2007, with US and British civilian advisors tutoring Iraqi air traffic managers over the past several years.