The delivery of three Boeing MAX 8s to Iraqi Airways on Friday confirms that the airline is slowly but progressively renewing its fleet. The carrier has now inducted eight new-generation airliners in the past sixteen months, including the MAX and the Airbus A220-300, but the majority of its fleet is still more than ten years old. Iraqi Airways’ triple MAX delivery confirms fleet renewal.
The triple delivery from Renton arrived in Baghdad early on Sunday, where the new aircraft received a special welcome from airline officials and the minister of Transport. The three weren’t the first MAX 8s to touch down on Iraqi soil, as the airline took delivery of the first MAX 8 (registered YI-ASL) only a few weeks ago on February 24. The ones arriving this weekend were registered ASM, ASN, and ASX.
Another two MAX 8s will join Iraqi Airways later to bring the number to six, but the airline will have to wait a little longer for the next batch. These are MAX 10s, of which it ordered ten in 2017 as part of the total order for sixteen of the latest-generation Boeing narrowbodies. Iraqi Airways’ fleet shows fourteen 737-800s, but actually, only four are currently active, plus a single -700. The -800s are on average 8.2 years old.
The induction of new Boeing aircraft doesn’t stop with the MAX. Iraqi Airways posted a picture on Facebook on March 16 of its first 787-8 in full livery on the apron in North Charleston, saying that Boeing has completed all the technical aspects of the airliner. Although the aircraft still has to complete some flight testing, the airline says it is now discussing with Boeing when it is ready for delivery. If the aircraft has already completed production quality checks and rework isn’t clear.
The first Boeing 787-8 in full livery is on the apron in North Charleston. (Iraqi Airways)
The history of the Iraqi Dreamliner goes a long way back to 2009, when the airline placed an order for eight 787-8s and a single -9. Years of political, social, and financial unrest have prevented Iraqi Airways from acquiring new aircraft, so deliveries were consistently pushed out.
It has been the same with the A220-order, which was placed with Bombardier in December 2013 when the aircraft was still the CS300. The order was confirmed a month after the announcement of a Letter of Intent at the Dubai Airshow. The A220s are deployed on domestic services as well as to Istanbul and Samsun in Turkey, Cairo (Egypt), Medina (Saudi Arabia), Beirut (Lebanon), and Amman (Jordan). The first of five A220s was delivered in January 2022 and there is now only one left in the backlog.
Iraqi Airways’ older fleet consists of three Airbus A320ceo’s of around 10.5 years old, and two A321ceo’s of 13.5 years old that are currently parked. That is also the situation for the 747-400s, one 767-300, and one 777-200.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News. From January 2023, he will add a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.