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The resolution of a 23-year-old dispute between Iraq and Kuwait has opened the door for both countries to concentrate on reviving their ailing flag carriers. But while Kuwait's parliament is bogged down with political apathy towards its loss-making airline, Iraq is seizing the day with ambitious aircraft orders and diplomatic overtures across the Arab world and beyond.
Iraqi Airways director general Captain Saad Al-Khafaji struck a sanguine note as he outlined the role his carrier will play in bringing Iraq back to the international fold, speaking shortly after flights to London resumed in March. Though he made no attempt to downplay the difficulties Iraq has faced – both under Saddam Hussein, and in the aftermath of the 2003 US-led invasion – he was overwhelmingly optimistic about the benefits that a well-funded, well-connected flag carrier can bring to its home nation.
"This is the new Iraq. We have a new political situation – democracy is ruling Iraq now," he told Arabian Aerospace. "We want to do our best to communicate with other countries, not with guns, but with brains. And we cannot communicate with other countries unless we meet, so Iraqi Airways is building bridges between the world and Iraq...