DALLAS – Boeing delivered to Iraqi Airways (IA) its first 737 MAX 8, the first aircraft of the variant to join the airline’s fleet. The jet left Boeing’s factory in Seattle (BFI) earlier this week and landed in Baghdad (BGW), Iraq’s capital city, after a stop in Reykjavik, Iceland.
The aircraft, registration YI-ASL, was welcomed at IA’s hub with the traditional water salute and a ceremony in the presence of the Iraqi transports minister Al-Saadawi. He also announced that the delivery schedules of the remaining aircraft on order had been arranged.
According to Boeing’s logbooks, this is the first unit of a ten Boeing 737 MAX order placed in 2017. However, according to local media Iraqi News, the airline expects a total of 16 737-8s, five of which should join the fleet before the end of next month. From images of the event, it appears the new aircraft are configured in a two-class configuration.
The media also adds that the airline expects its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft this year and one 737 -10 variant between 2024 and 2027.
IA Fleet Renewal
Minister Al-Saadawi explained these new-generation aircraft were part of the airline’s fleet renewal plans. He also said the Iraqi flag carrier remained committed to obtaining the lifting of its restrictions in Europe. Indeed, the airline has been blacklisted since 2015, preventing it from operating flights to or from the European Air Safety Agency (EASA) member states.
Apart from this new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, the airline also received its third Airbus A220-300 in January, accelerating its fleet renewal.
These orders were all placed before 2017, but the airline has only started welcoming these modern aircraft to its fleet in 2021, due to long waiting times and the Covid pandemic.
With these new aircraft, IA hopes to improve its efficiency while reaching the EASA safety standards to avoid restrictions.
Featured Image: Iraqi Airways.