Mosul International Airport

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Mosul International Airport


OSM is located in Mosul
Location of airport in Mosul
Airport type Unknown (previously Public / Military)
Operator Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (seized from Iraqi Government)
Location Mosul
Elevation AMSL 719 ft / 216 m
Coordinates 36°18′21″N 43°08′51″E / 36.30583°N 43.14750°E / 36.30583; 43.14750
Direction Length Surface
ft m
15/33 8,695 2,650 Concrete

Mosul International Airport (IATA: OSMICAO: ORBM) is an airport located at Mosul, capital of Nineveh Governorate, Iraq. It became a civil airport in 1990 with the rebuild of the runway (from asphalt to concrete) and construction of a new terminal. After undergoing major renovations to be able to reach international standards and category 1 status, it reopened as a civilian airport on 2 December 2007. On 9 June 2014, it was captured by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[1]


The airfield was used by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) at the end of the Mesopotamian Campaign of World War I and from 1920 RAF aircraft squadrons (and from 1922 also Royal Air Force Armoured Car Companies) were based there while Iraq was under the League of Nations British Mandate.[2][3] RAF Mosul was handed over to the Royal Iraqi Air Force in 1936 under the terms of the 1931 Mandate but was used again by the RAF during World War II.[4] It subsequently became a major Iraqi Air Force base, with at least a squadron of MiG-21s stationed there.

The military air base was one of several Iraqi Air Force airfields in the mid-1970s which were re-built under project "Super-Base" in response to the experiences from Arab-Israeli wars in 1967 and 1973.

Tnirteen airfields were re-built by British contractors, and on all of them also a number of hardened aircraft shelters was built. Subsequently companies from Yugoslavia - previously engaged in building bridges in Iraq - became involved. Due to their specific construction of these airfields - which included taxi-ways leading right out of Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS) and laid diagonally to the runways - they became known as "Trapezoids" or "Yugos".

The facilities were divided into two categories: "surface" and "underground". The "surface" facilities were actually the "softest", and included maintenance hangars of metal construction, and HAS of concrete construction. In total, the Yugoslavs have built no less but 200 HAS on different airfields in Iraq during the 1980s.

The protection of each HAS consisted of one meter thick concrete shells, reinforced by 30 cm thick steel plates. There was only one entrance and this was covered by sliding doors, made of 50 cm thick steel armoured plate and concrete. The HAS' were usually built in small groups - seldom more than five, with each group sharing the same water and power supply, besides having own backup gasoline-powered electrical generator, and each HAS being equipped with a semi-automatic aircraft-refuelling system.

In addition, underground facilities that could shelter between four and ten aircraft on average were constructed. In order to build these the Yugoslavs used equipment and construction techniques identical to that use in underground oil-storage depots, additionally conealing the extension and the true purpose of the whole project. The underground facilities were all hardened to withstand a direct hit by a tactical nuclear bomb, buried up to 50 meters bellow the ground and consisted of the main aircraft "hangar" (consisting of two floors in several cases, connected by 40ts hydraulic lifts), connected with operations, maintenance, and logistical facilities via a net of underground corridors.

It was seized by Coalition forces in 2003 after Operation Iraqi Freedom. It became a United States Army facility. The 101st Airborne was the first Army Unit to occupy the base in 2003. The Base was divided into two FOB's. FOB Marez to the East and FOB Diamondback to the West which incorporated the Airfield.

On 21 December 2004, fourteen US soldiers, four American employees of Halliburton, and four Iraqi soldiers were killed in a suicide attack on a dining hall at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Marez, East of the main US military airfield at Mosul. The Pentagon reported that 72 other personnel were injured in the attack carried out by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest and the uniform of the Iraqi security services. The Islamic terrorist group Army of Ansar al-Sunna (partly evolved from Ansar al-Islam) declared responsibility for the attack in an Internet statement.

In 2006, the U.S. Government invested millions of dollars restoring the airfield lighting and built a brand new "state of the art" Air Traffic Control Tower for the airfield. The Iraqi passenger terminal was also restored and reopened for a flight in late 2007.

In 2007, during the surge the base was downsized and consolidated into one FOB (Marez) even though the footprint did not change.

In 2011, the airfield and facility were turned back over to the Iraqi Government.

On 9 June 2014, the airport was captured by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as part of the 2014 Northern Iraq offensive.[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Iraqi Airways Dubai, Istanbul-Atatürk, Baghdad (Services suspended)[5]
Royal Jordanian Amman-Queen Alia (Suspended)
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk (Suspended)


  • Warwick, Nigel W. M. (2014). IN EVERY PLACE: The RAF Armoured Cars in the Middle East 1921-1953. Rushden, Northamptonshire, England: Forces & Corporate Publishing Ltd. p. 664. ISBN 978-0-9574725-2-5. 
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  1. ^ a b Sly, Liz; Ramadan, Ahmed (10 June 2014). "Insurgents seize Iraqi city of Mosul as troops flee". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Jefford, RAF Squadrons
  3. ^ Warwick, In Every Place
  4. ^ Jefford, RAF Squadrons
  5. ^

External links[edit]