Baghdad International Airport

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Baghdad International Airport
مطار بغداد الدولي
Matar Baġdād ad-Dowaly
Airport type Public / Military
Operator Iraqi Government
Location Baghdad, Iraq
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 114 ft / 35 m
Coordinates 33°15′45″N 44°14′04″E / 33.26250°N 44.23444°E / 33.26250; 44.23444Coordinates: 33°15′45″N 44°14′04″E / 33.26250°N 44.23444°E / 33.26250; 44.23444
BGW is located in Iraq
Location of airport in Iraq
Direction Length Surface
ft m
15R/33L 10,830 3,301 Concrete
15L/33R 13,124 4,000 Concrete
Statistics (2009)
Total passengers Increase 7,500,000 (estimate)
Source: DAFIF[1][2]

Baghdad International Airport (IATA: BGWICAO: ORBI), previously Saddam International Airport (IATA: SDAICAO: ORBS) (Arabic: مطار بغداد الدولي‎‎), is Iraq's largest international airport, located in a suburb about 16 km (9.9 mi) west of downtown Baghdad in the Baghdad Governorate. It is the home base for Iraq's national airline, Iraqi Airways.



The present airport was developed under a consortium led by French company, Spie Batignolles, under an agreement made in 1979. The Iran/Iraq war delayed full opening of the airport until 1982. The airport at the time was opened as Saddam International Airport, bearing the name of the former Iraqi Dictator, Saddam Hussein.[3]


Most of Baghdad's civil flights stopped in 1991, when the United Nations imposed restrictions on Iraq after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War. Because of the no-fly zone imposed on Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom, Iraqi Airways was only able to continue domestic flights for limited periods. Internationally, Baghdad was able to receive occasional charter flights carrying medicine, aid workers, and government officials. Royal Jordanian Airlines operated regular flights from Amman to Baghdad.


Inside view of the terminal in 2003, showing an abandoned and nonfunctional FIDS (note the red and white icon for the long-defunct East German airline Interflug in the fourth row from the bottom), in front of empty check-in desks and passport control

In April 2003, US-led forces invaded Iraq and changed the airport's name from Saddam International Airport to Baghdad International Airport. The ICAO code for the airport consequently changed from ORBS to ORBI; the IATA code subsequently switched from SDA to BGW, which previously referred to all Baghdad airports and before that to Al Muthana Airport when Saddam was in power.

Civilian control of the airport was returned to the Iraqi Government in 2004.


The current entrance to Baghdad International Airport, 2007

Sather Air Base came under fire from periodic rocket attacks from Baghdad. On Dec 6, 2006 a 107 rocket attack landed 30 yards (meters) from a parked C-5A aircraft placing scores of shrapnel holes in the aircraft.

Terminal C has been refreshed with three active gate areas for carriers operating from the airport.

In January 2015 a FlyDubai jet carrying 154 passengers was struck by gunfire as it landed at the airport. One passenger was injured when at least three bullets struck the plane. After the incident, UAE carriers FlyDubai and Emirates suspended their flights from Dubai to Baghdad. Flights by Turkish Airlines and Royal Jordanian were also temporarily suspended. [4]

Baghdad Airport Road, connecting the airport with the Green Zone, which was once a dangerous route full of IEDs, has been refurbished with palm trees, manicured lawns, and a fountain, with Turkish assistance.[5]

Military use[edit]

Within the airport there is a separate enclave called the New Al Muthana Air Base where No. 23 Squadron IqAF is based with three Lockheed C-130E Hercules transport aircraft[citation needed] and the home to a number of Sukhoi Su-25's.[6]

Sather Air Base or Camp Sather was a United States Air Force base on the west side of the airport occupied from 2003 to 2011 during the Iraq War. It was named in memory of Combat Controller Staff Sergeant Scott Sather, the first enlisted Airman to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sather was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor for his leadership of a 24th Special Tactics Squadron reconnaissance task force during the initial stages of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Airport developments[edit]

Airline service[edit]

Expansion plans[edit]

On 18 May 2010, plans were unveiled for an expansion of Baghdad International Airport, which will double its capacity to 15 million passengers per year. The expansion, to be funded by foreign investors, will include the construction of three new terminals and the refurbishment of the existing three terminals, which will each accommodate 2.5 million passengers annually.[8]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations
Air Arabia Sharjah
Air Mediterranean Athens (begins 3 November 2017)[9]
AtlasGlobal Istanbul–Atatürk
Seasonal: Antalya
Caspian Airlines Kermanshah, Mashhad, Tehran–Imam Khomeini
Cham Wings Airlines Damascus
EgyptAir Cairo
Emirates Dubai–International
FlyDamas Damascus
FlyBaghdad Erbil, Sulaymaniyah
flydubai Dubai–International [10]
Gulf Air Bahrain
Iran Air Isfahan, Kerman, Mashhad, Sari, Shiraz, Tehran, Zahedan.
Iraqi Airways Amman–Queen Alia, Ankara, Baku, Basra, Beijing–Capital, Beirut, Cairo, Delhi, Dubai–International, Erbil, Guangzhou, Isfahan, Istanbul–Atatürk, Kerman, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuwait, Mashhad, Moscow-Vnukovo, Mumbai, Najaf, Sharm El-Sheikh, Sulaymaniyah, Tehran–Mehrabad
Charter: Jeddah
Seasonal: Kutaisi, Minsk
Iraqi Airways
operated by Air Explore
Berlin-Tegel, Copenhagen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, London–Gatwick,1 Manchester, Stockholm–Arlanda
Jordan Aviation Amman-Queen Alia
Middle East Airlines Beirut
Nile Air Cairo
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Qatar Airways Doha
Qeshm Airlines Isfahan
Royal Jordanian Amman–Queen Alia
Syrian Air Damascus
Taban Air Isfahan, Khorramabad[11]
Turkish Airlines Antalya, Istanbul–Atatürk, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
UM Airlines Kiev-Zhuliany
Zagros Airlines Arak[12]
Zagrosjet Erbil


1: Iraqi Airways' flights between Baghdad and Gatwick stop in Malmö. However, the airline does not have the rights to transport passengers solely between Baghdad and Malmö.


Airlines Destinations
Click Airways Erbil, Sharjah
Coyne Airways Dubai-International
SNAS/DHL Bahrain
Etihad Cargo Abu Dhabi
FitsAir Dubai-International
RUS Aviation Sharjah
Silk Way Airlines Baku
Turkish Airlines Cargo Istanbul-Atatürk[13]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

A flying carpet sculpture on the wall at BIAP. (2011)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Airport information for ORBI at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  2. ^ Airport information for SDA at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
  3. ^ Technology transfer to the Middle East. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Fahim, Kareem (27 January 2015). "Airlines Suspend Flights to Iraq’s Baghdad Airport After Jet Is Hit by Gunfire" – via 
  5. ^ Arango, Tim (20 November 2014). "Amid Mutual Suspicion, Turkish Premier Visits Iraq". New York Times Company. New York Times. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  6. ^ AirForces Monthly. Stamford, Lincolnshire, England: Key Publishing Ltd. August 2014. p. 22. 
  7. ^ "Etihad to start flights to Iraq". Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^
  10. ^ Fahim, Kareem (27 January 2015). "Airlines Suspend Flights to Iraq’s Baghdad Airport After Jet Is Hit by Gunfire" – via 
  11. ^ "You are being redirected...". 
  12. ^[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ 2017, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Turkish Airlines Cargo adds new destinations in W16". 
  14. ^ "The opinion pollsters who dodged mortar fire and militias". BBC News. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  15. ^ "Boeing Hit by Gunfire in Baghdad". Airliner World: 83. March 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Baghdad International Airport at Wikimedia Commons