WASHINGTON (CN) - The Federal Aviation Administration will allow U.S. civil flight operations between two airports in Northern Iraq after finding a full ban on flights between those airports is no longer needed.
In 1996, the FAA issued a rule prohibiting flight operations within Iraq in response to a threat by then-President Saddam Hussein to attack "any air target of the aggressors."
When a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in 2003, the FAA amended the rule to allow certain flights over the country. Recent evaluations of Iraq's airports prompted the FAA to consider removing the prohibitions on two airports in the northern part of the country.
"Erbil and Sulaymaniyah International Airports have supported non-U.S. air carrier operations for a number of years without incident. Based largely on the initiation of those operations and on improvements in the operational environment, the FAA has determined that flights by U.S. operators may now be conducted safely to these two airports under certain conditions," the FAA wrote.
Certain flights from outside Iraq to those two airports will be allowed by U.S. air carriers or commercial operators with proper FAA certificates.
The rule, published Thursday, sets out guidelines for certification. Among other things, the Transportation Security Administration must review current security situations and air carriers must obtain TSA approval before operating.
The FAA noted its commitment to a continuous evaluation of Iraq's airports and said the rule prohibiting flights may eventually be completely removed.
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