Last week, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) dissolved an exclusive flight permit contract enjoyed by Palm Jet, following protests from the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) that the agreement made operating business flights into Iraq prohibitively expensive.
The contract had been in place since 2010 and meant Palm Jet had a monopoly, for a proposed 12-year term, over all rights to fly in and out of the country. After Palm Jet took over, the permit cost rose from $200 to $6,000 for aircraft with fewer than 10 seats and $8,000 for those with 10 seats or more.
Working with the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), MEBAA raised the issue with ICAO–a tactic that apparently worked. Iraq’s Ministry of Transport is now advising that operators that want to fly into the country apply through normal channels: the ICAA or Iraqi Airways.
“This puts Iraq into the scale of normal operations,” said MEBAA founding chairman Ali Al Naqbi. “Business aviation is an important component in the development of the Iraqi economy, but it would not work if extortionate charges were being applied by a single company. It had to stop.”