Gulf Air cancels after shooting




BAHRAIN’S national carrier cancelled its flight to Baghdad yesterday after a Flydubai plane, carrying 154 passengers, was shot at while landing in the Iraqi capital.

Gulf Air is ‘monitoring’ the security situation in Iraq and could suspend its two other flights this week ‘“ scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday ‘“ over security concerns, however, no decision has been made.


It follows reports of two passengers, including a young girl, suffering minor injuries when three or four bullets hit the body of a Flydubai plane as it was landing at Baghdad International Airport on Monday night.

Iraqi authorities have rounded up suspects in farmlands south of the airport, which sits on the city’s western outskirts.

However, it was not clear whether the shooting was intentional as celebratory gunfire into the air is common in Iraq.

Gulf Air, which operates three weekly flights to the Iraqi capital ‘“ on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday ‘“ said its decision on suspending its other flights would depend on the security situation in Baghdad.

‘In light of recent events in Iraq, Gulf Air can confirm the cancellation of flight GF201 which was scheduled to depart Bahrain yesterday to Baghdad due to security concerns,’ said a statement.

‘The airline is monitoring the security situation around Baghdad International Airport and working closely with airport and security officials in the Iraqi capital.

‘Gulf Air is wholly committed to the safety and security of its passengers and crew.’

However, an airline spokeswoman confirmed their daily flights to Najaf was not affected.

‘We will decide on the flights scheduled [to Baghdad] in the coming days after monitoring the security situation, which we are doing continuously,’ she told the GDN.

‘Gulf Air is taking the necessary precautions while working closely with government and airport authorities in Iraq to prepare for all eventualities.

‘However, daily flights to Najaf remain unaffected.’

Flydubai, operated by budget carrier Dubai Aviation Corporation, suspended all its flights to Iraq along with Emirates Airlines, Air Arabia and Etihad Airways following a directive from UAE’s Civil Aviation Authority.

‘After landing at Baghdad International Airport on January 26, 2015, damage to the aircraft fuselage consistent with small arms fire was discovered on Flydubai flight FZ 215,’ said a Flydubai spokesman.

‘All the passengers disembarked normally through the jet bridge.

‘Passengers from Baghdad to Dubai were accommodated on a replacement aircraft.

‘An investigation is underway to establish what happened.’

Iraq briefly suspended air traffic on Monday, but most flights resumed yesterday morning.

The GDN previously reported that Bahrain resumed flights to Iraq in 2012 after its decision to suspend operations to Iran and Iraq over a political dispute in December 2011.


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