Boeing Cuts Deal to Sell Jets to Iraq

BAGHDAD - Iraq said on Monday it has signed a contract worth 5.5 billion dollars with Boeing to buy 40 new aircraft, with an option to purchase 15 more.

Baghdad had also signed a 400-million-dollar contract with Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier to purchase 10 passenger planes, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.

He said delivery of the aircraft would start this year, with final delivery expected by the end of 2019.

The Boeing contract was for the 737 and 787 "Dreamliner" planes, the statement said, without giving a breakdown of the numbers of each.

Dabbagh said the deals "will strengthen the Iraqi civil aviation capacity and enable it to respond to the increasing demand for air transportation to and from Iraq."

Iraqi Airways, one of the oldest airlines in the Middle East, currently owns just two aircraft and leases others.

Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 sparked UN economic sanctions which grounded the airline.

The national carrier resumed international flights in September 2004 with a Baghdad-Amman service. It now operates also to Cairo, Damascus, Beirut and Dubai.

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