Mosul International Airport closed for six years

Mosul International Airport Gate. Photo: KirkukNow archive

KirkukNow- Nineveh

Mosul International Airport has closed since 2014 due to ISIS takeover of the city in Jun 2014. The airport is damaged and yet to be renovated.

ISIS used the airport as a military base during its reign. Mosul liberation left the airport damaged and ISIS placed tens of explosive bombs at the airport.

The bombs were cleaned up by an Iraqi and two US firms with the financial aid of the United States. Last November, The US embassy in Baghdad announced the completion of demining efforts which took 18 months. The airport was handed over to Nineveh Provincial Council but still lacks a renovation plan.

“Mosul has lost a lot due to its airport closure. It is like an air embargo on the city,” said Abdul Majeed Aliya, a flight engineer.

It is like an air embargo on the city

Aliya thinks the reopening of the airport is necessary for Mosul to thrive again and it is the responsibility of the central government and the Nineveh province to work for the reconstruction of the airport.

He stated, “it is not acceptable that after three years of ISIS defeat, no specific time is set to renovate the airport,”

“The closure of the airport has made the international firms and investors to invest in Erbil. It has left negative impacts on Nineveh and it is a reason for lack of projects,” Rasul Abdul Rahim, a Mosul resident, told KirkukNow.

Mosul International Airport, 2014. Photo: KirkukNow archive 

The two American firms, Janus, Tetra Tech with the Al Fahad local partner “cleared more than 170 explosive hazards, including unexploded ordnances, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and bomb-making materials.”

Mosul airport was built in 1920 on 1600 donum and was damaged by 70 percent in the Mosul liberation from ISIS.

ISIS built different warfare tunnels in the airport to hide away from airstrikes. The tunnels are one to two meters deep and their lengths range from 10 to 100 meters.

The airport’s control tower is 100 percent damaged, followed by its runway with 25 percent and its apron with 5 percent, Haider Mohammed, head of the airport, explained the scale of destruction of different part of the airports to KirkukNow.

Mohammed claimed that a technical team of Nineveh province is still removing rubbles in order to make the airport fully ready for reconstructions.

 Trucks are removing rubles of the airport 

Last October, Turkish Ambassador in Baghdad submitted a proposal for the renovation of the airport through two Turkish firms.

Najim Al Jabouri, Nineveh governor, in his meeting last month with the Turkish Consul General in Nineveh, Mohammed Kujuk discussed the renovation of the airport.

Jabouri said, “we discussed many topics and reached good understandings on Turkish proposition to renovate Mosul airport.”

Jabouri explained that they will focus on two main objects for the renovation of the airport, which are the technicality and the structure of the reconstruction which should be in a way that reflects the civilization of the city.

Nineveh, which is the largest Iraqi province with a 39 thousand km square and four million population, has 33 districts and subdistricts. Mosul was under ISIS control for three years and its liberation battle damaged much of its infrastructure. 

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