Iraq Cuts Off All Flights Into Kurdish Capital

Regional Carriers Agree to Stop Flights

Iraqi Kurdistan has refused the demands of the central government to surrender their airports after the pro-secession referendum, and Iraq has responded by banning all international flights into the Kurdish capital of Arbil.

Every regional airline has agreed to participate, at least for the time being. The flights are cut through at least October 1 by those airlines, though not all have said if they intend to cancel flights beyond that date or not.

Also unclear is the status of the other Kurdish airport with international flights at al-Sulaymaniyah. Though Iraq had indicated a few days ago they wanted both airports, there’s been no news of any flights being cancelled at this smaller airport.

Landlocked, Iraqi Kurdistan is facing an uphill battle in getting acceptance from any of its neighbors. Having airports is going to be important to them in accessing the rest of the world, especially if Turkey remains hostile to Kurdish independence.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.