Iraq reopens Kurdish airports to international flights

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s civil aviation authority says airports in the country’s Kurdish region have been officially reopened for international flights.

Abbas Omran, the authority’s director, says he received a cable Wednesday night that international carriers are now allowed to take off and land at the two airports in Iraq’s Kurdish region after they had been shut to such traffic some six months ago.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for the hubs to be reopened on Tuesday.

The airports were initially shut to international flights following a controversial referendum vote in Iraq’s self-ruled Kurdish region that overwhelmingly backed independence from Baghdad.

Iraq’s small landlocked Kurdish region has been increasingly isolated following the September referendum, straining relations with key allies such as the United States and neighboring Turkey.

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