In 1988 Iraq had two international airports, one at Baghdad and one at Basra. In 1979 a French consortium was awarded a US$900 million contract to build a new international airport at Baghdad. By 1987 the facility was partially completed and in use. The Basra airport was also being upgraded with an extended 4,000- meter runway and other facilities at a cost in excess of US$400 million. A third international airport was planned for Mosul.
The State Enterprise for Iraqi Airways was the sole domestic airline in operation in 1988. The company was established in 1945 by Iraqi State Railways. In 1987, the airline's fleet included thirty-five Soviet-built Antonov and Ilyushin cargo planes and fourteen Boeing passenger jets, as well as smaller commuter aircraft and VIP jets. The airline provided service throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Europe, as well as to Brazil and to the Far East. In 1987 Saddam Husayn announced a decree to privatize Iraqi Airways. Two new ventures were to be established instead the Iraqi Aviation Company to operate commercially as the national airline, and the National Company for Aviation Services to provide aircraft and airport services. Stock would be sold to the public, and the government would retain a minority share.
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