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Rudaw

Kurdistan

Flight ban: Baghdad levies higher fees on Kurdish pilgrims, official

By Rudaw 9/3/2018
Iraq has imposed a ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region since late September after the Kurdish referendum on independence held on September 25, 2017. File photo: Iraqi airways
Iraq has imposed a ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region since late September after the Kurdish referendum on independence held on September 25, 2017. File photo: Iraqi airways
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish pilgrims wishing to visit Saudi Arabia for Umrah must use state-owned Iraqi Airways, increasing the cost of the trip by $200 per person, a Kurdish official claimed.

Iraq agreed to partially lift the existing ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region in February by exempting Muslims who want to perform the non-mandatory Umrah pilgrim to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

The Government of Iraq, however, has "manipulated" the market in favour of Iraqi Airways by excluding all other airlines, Nabaz Ismail, spokesperson for the KRG’s religious affairs ministry, told Rudaw on Thursday.

The condition imposed by Iraq means that the trip costs $900, while it was $700 last year, the official added.

About 4,000 people have registered their names in the Kurdistan Region to visit Mecca for Umrah since the Iraqi government resumed direct flights from Kurdish airports to Saudi Arabia for religious reasons, according to official figures.

The first Umrah flights left Sulaimani on Wednesday and took off from Erbil on Thursday.

Related: Baghdad may lift flight ban, pay audited salaries before Newroz: Abadi 

Comments

 
Non kurd | 9/3/2018
Pilgrimage is only for people who are financially, mentally and physically capable. If there are fees being added tjethen n don't go...you are excused.
COMMUNIST | 9/3/2018
pray to your BEDOUIN DESERT god while you are being ripped off your money. TRAITORS
Kurdi USA | 9/3/2018
Why not instead use that $900 x 4,000/ year people and set up organization for unification of Greater Kurdistan so you can establish your country? Why are you brainwashed into paying $900 to tyrants of a religion who wants to kill You?
delshad | 10/3/2018
rather than going and worship for some empty house , why not send this money to our brothers and sisters in kobani or afrin our our yezidi brothers and sisters , which one is more important ????
delshad | 10/3/2018
we go to saudi spend our money on empty house , saudi they buy guns and bombs and they will us with our money .stupid people its 2018 and we still buy that shit .gods house my ass
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