Declined charter by two brokers and once direct - why?
Wasn't too sure where to put this Q so thought this would do. We have been trying to arrange a charter to Erbil/Irbil from the UK for later this year but have been declined by two brokers and directly with an operator all on the grounds of the destination being one they refuse to work with. I find this rather ridiculous.. Sure I could just book seats on an airline from the UK to Erbil but that's not favoured.
Anyone any suggestions? I don't see it as a troublesome charter request by any means....
We advise against all but essential travel to the whole of Iraq, except to the Kurdistan Region, where there are no restrictions. There is a high threat of terrorism. This includes violence and kidnapping targeting foreign nationals, including individuals of non-Western appearance.
There are no restrictions in place against travel to the Kurdistan Region (the provinces of Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaimaniyah), as the risk of terrorism in these provinces is markedly lower than elsewhere in Iraq.
I would keep trying, plenty of operators have been in to these areas.
How many passengers and would you accept a fuel stop etc?
Not every operator is insured or has an AOC that covers that part of the world and not every broker has operators on the books that have that insurance or AOC coverage.
Just a matter of making phone calls till you find one that does. I don't know any of the top of my head, did you try some of the bigger brokers such as Airpartner or Air Charter Services? Alternatively did you try any of the web based quoting companies such as Avinode or CharterX? No point calling the little guys, go enquire with the big boys, your chances of success will be that much greater.
The DfT (allegedly) ban all commercial air transport by G-reg aircraft into Iraq. Only they won't tell you that because in a true "Yes Minister" style it's sensitive information that they can't volunteer to AOC holders (I'll probably be arrested now although I added an "allegedly" above because it's just "rumour", oh yes, ahem)). They will however (allegedly) tell you if you do it and they find out though. Their concerns, when pushed, are (allegedly) very airline centric, but then they've never really treated us any differently in what we do or how we do it. They (allegedly) didn't laugh "if" we pointed out that if we came out of there with six passengers, not the five we'd taken in and one of the six was looking a bit dodgy the other passengers would probably ask questions as to who he was...
I guess though that it brings in an argument then I guess about what happens if something goes wrong there and would your insurance say you were operating against regulation - probably if they were up for paying out $30m.
None of the other EU operators are subject to the same (alleged) ban by their version of the DfT, which is daft given how much we've spent on a war there.
There does appear to be a loophole in that if the G-reg operator lands at an airport in Europe, but not in the UK, on the way to the UK then that removes the restriction - although it's arguably not in the spirit of what the DfT are (allegedly) enforcing. Allegedly.
We go in privately frequently (Kurdistan is a lot more peaceful and calm than the rest of Iraq) and is already seeing massive growth in foreign brands - branded hotels springing up, car manufacturers held a car show there last year etc. It's a functional airport with good layers of IATA security; although it's still in an area of hostilities so is probably a bit more risky than Bournemouth. To paraphrase a squaddie "In that regard, it's more like Southampton".
[advert] We go in commercially as well with our other non-EU aircraft, which I will be happy to tell you about if you PM me [/advert]
Please don't arrest me, I'm just trying to help all UK operators follow the law guv.
IS this the reason why the defunct Astreaus and Titan stopped over in Cyprus on the way to Iraq/Afghanistan? I always thought there was some weird MoD logistics reason for that. Makes sense now in light of the "secret" "ban".
You could always go commercial with Emirates/Qatar, they both operate scheduled via the ME.
"5. British airlines and aircraft are not currently allowed to operate to or from Iraq for security reasons. Foreign airlines are only allowed to operate between Iraq and the UK if their services stop in a third country en route, where additional security measures are applied before onward travel to the UK."