Iraq Plans To Double Baghdad Airport Capacity
Iraq plans to double capacity at Baghdad Airport to 15 million passengers per year, the head of the country's civil aviation authority said on Tuesday.
After years of sanctions and war, Iraq plans billions of dollars of investment to rebuild and expand infrastructure and facilitate economic growth.
The government plans to add three new terminals at the airport, each capable of handling 2.5 million passengers per year, said Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) Director General Adnin Blebil.
"We have to do it, we need more capacity," Blebil said.
Iraq was hoping to generate interest from foreign investors in the plans, he said on the sidelines of an event in the emirate of Dubai. He declined to say how much investment the expansion would need.
Baghdad airport currently handles around seven million passengers a year.
The war-damaged country hopes that a series of oil deals struck recently with international companies would help generate the cash it desperately needs to rebuild. But many of its ambitious plans fall short of sufficient funding and Iraq is trying to encourage foreign investment to flow into the country.
The three terminals that already exist at Baghdad Airport would also be overhauled, Blebil said. Each existing terminal also has capacity to handle 2.5 million passengers per year.
The ICAA was also considering plans to increase capacity at the airport in the southern oil hub of Basra, and to build a new international airport in the north near Mosul, he added.
Iraq had announced plans for a new international airport that would be built between the three provinces of Kerbala, Najaf and Hilla, which are home to some of Shi'ite Islam's holiest cities. Hundreds of thousands of Shi'ite pilgrims visit these cities every year.