Baghdad International Airport

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Baghdad International Airport

مطار بغداد الدولي

Matar Baġdād ad-Dowaly
Airport typePublic / Military
OperatorIraqi Government
LocationBaghdad, Iraq
Hub for
Elevation AMSL114 ft / 35 m
Coordinates33°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 13,123 4,000 Concrete
Statistics (2009)
Total passengersIncrease 7,500,000 (estimate)
Source: DAFIF[1][2]

Baghdad International Airport (IATA: BGW, ICAO: ORBI), previously Saddam International Airport (IATA: SDA, ICAO: 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 then Iraqi president, 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 coalition 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 6 December 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 to UAE 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 the Air Force's 23rd Squadron is based with three Lockheed C-130E Hercules transport aircraft.[citation needed] It is also home to a number of Sukhoi Su-25 "Frogfoot"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]

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.[7]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Air Arabia Sharjah
Aircompany Armenia Yerevan[8]
ATA Airlines Ardabil, Gorgan, Tabriz
AtlasGlobal Istanbul
Seasonal: Antalya
Cham Wings Airlines Damascus
EgyptAir Cairo
Emirates Dubai–International
FlyBaghdad Amman–Queen Alia, Ankara, Beirut, Damascus,[9] Erbil, Istanbul, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Seasonal: Samsun
FlyDamas Damascus
flydubai Dubai–International[4]
flynas Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh[10]
Gulf Air Bahrain
Iran Air Isfahan, Kerman, Mashhad, Rasht, Sari, Tabriz, Tehran–Imam Khomeini, Zahedan
Iran Aseman Airlines Tehran–Imam Khomeini
Iraqi Airways Ahmedabad, Amman–Queen Alia, Ankara, Antalya, Baku, Basra, Beirut, Berlin–Tegel, Cairo, Copenhagen, Damascus, Delhi, Dubai–International, Düsseldorf, Erbil, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Isfahan, Istanbul, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen, Karachi, Kerman, Kiev–Boryspil,[11] Kirkuk, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuwait, London–Gatwick, Manchester, Mashhad, Moscow–Vnukovo,[12] Mumbai, Munich,[13] Nasiriyah, Stockholm–Arlanda, Sulaymaniyah, Tehran–Imam Khomeini
Seasonal: Minsk
Seasonal charter: Hurghada,[14] Jeddah, Kish Island, Sharm El Sheikh, Trabzon,[14] Yazd, Zahedan
Hajj: Medina
Jordan Aviation Amman–Queen Alia
Mahan Air Shiraz, Tehran–Imam Khomeini
Middle East Airlines Beirut
Nile Air Cairo
Seasonal charter: Sharm El Sheikh[15]
Onur Air Istanbul
Seasonal: Antalya,[16] Bodrum[16]
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Qatar Airways Doha
Qeshm Airlines Isfahan, Tehran–Imam Khomeini
Royal Jordanian Amman–Queen Alia
Saudia Jeddah
Syrian AirDamascus
Taban AirIsfahan
Turkish Airlines Ankara,[17] Antalya, Istanbul,[18] Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen


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


Click Airways Erbil, Sharjah
Coyne Airways Dubai-International
SNAS/DHL Bahrain
EgyptAir Cargo Cairo[19]
Etihad Cargo Abu Dhabi
FitsAir Dubai-International
RUS AviationSharjah
Silk Way Airlines Baku
Turkish Airlines Cargo Istanbul-Atatürk[20]

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: Summary. DIANE Publishing. 1984. p. 273. ISBN 978-1-4289-2383-6.
  4. ^ a b 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". The New York Times Company. The New York Times. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  6. ^ AirForces Monthly. Stamford, Lincolnshire, England: Key Publishing Ltd. August 2014. p. 22.
  7. ^[dead link]
  8. ^ Liu, Jim (25 April 2019). "Armenia schedules new service to Iraq in S19". Routesonline. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "أول ناقل وطني سعودي إلى العراق".
  11. ^ Liu, Jim (24 April 2018). "Iraqi Airways adds Kiev scheduled service from mid-April 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  12. ^ Liu, Jim (11 October 2017). "Iraqi Airways Germany / Russia service changes from Oct 2017". Routesonline. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  13. ^ Liu, Jim (21 March 2019). "Iraqi Airways adds Munich service from late-March 2019". Routesonline.
  14. ^ a b "Iraqi Airways files Hurghada / Trabzon schedules from July 2019". 16 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Nile Air schedules Baghdad charters from July 2019". 27 June 2019.
  16. ^ a b Liu, Jim. "Onur Air expands Iraq network in S19". Routesonline. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Istanbul New Airport Transition Delayed Until April 5, 2019 (At The Earliest)".
  19. ^ Ltd, DVV Media International. "Dnata scoops new Egyptair Cargo handling deal in Dubai ǀ Air Cargo News".
  20. ^ 2017, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Turkish Airlines Cargo adds new destinations in W16".
  21. ^ "The opinion pollsters who dodged mortar fire and militias". BBC News. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  22. ^ "Boeing Hit by Gunfire in Baghdad". Airliner World: 83. March 2015.

External links[edit]

Media related to Baghdad International Airport at Wikimedia Commons