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Cablegate: Tfiz01: Royal Jordanian Interest in Iraq Civil

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS AMMAN 002255

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR EAID IZ JO
SUBJECT: TFIZ01: ROYAL JORDANIAN INTEREST IN IRAQ CIVIL
AVIATION

REF: Amman 1251

1. (SBU) Summary. Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ) indicates
its availability to help Iraqi Airways or a successor Iraqi
airline begin operations as quickly as possible. RJ, which
has long experience in Iraq, is ready to operate flights on
behalf of Iraqi Airways and/or provide technical, training
and any other assistance, possibility in tandem with the
Jordanian Civil Aviation Authority. Post is not aware of
USG planning for civil aviation operations in Iraq, but RJ's
offer sounds like it has some advantages. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ) CEO Samer Majali
called on Ambassador Gnehm April 10 to reiterate his
thoughts about how RJ could be helpful in getting Iraqi
civil aviation restarted as early as possible (ref). Majali
thought having Iraqi Airways in the air quickly would send
an important signal of normalcy to Iraqis and to the world,
but noted that IA has been essentially cut off from the
international aviation community for well over a decade.
Its fleet is not airworthy (the four jets on the ground in
Amman should be junked) and its personnel are no longer
qualified. Royal Jordanian has long experience operating
into Iraq and knows its three international airports
(Baghdad, Mosul, and Basra) and the domestic airports well.

3. (SBU) Majali said that RJ would be ready immediately to
operate "wet leases" (both crew and aircraft) on behalf of
IA. An arrangement could include repainting RJ aircraft in
the colors of IA or a successor airline. RJ would be
pleased to discuss any other arrangements. RJ could provide
crew, maintenance, marketing support and help train new
Iraqi IA staff and bring old staff up to date. Furthermore,
Majali thought that Jordan's Civil Aviation Authority would
similarly be ready to provide support for Iraqi air traffic
control, aviation security, ground handling and other
regulatory functions and operations.

4. (SBU) Comment: We do not know what Washington's
thinking has been about Iraqi Airways or civil aviation in
Iraq. From our vantage point, Majali's ideas seem to make a
lot of sense. RJ has the familiarity, expertise and extra
capacity to move in quickly and -- with its direct service
to the U.S. -- operates at the highest international safety
and security standards. Its staff is entirely Arabic
speaking and able to interact smoothly with Iraqi
counterparts (which may not be the case for other Arab
airlines). Most also speak excellent English. The
Jordanian CAA is similarly professional and would be
excellent, bilingual counterparts for U.S. and Iraqi
personnel in Iraq. The CAA also runs a training academy and
ICAO regional aviation security-training program in Amman
that currently offers state of the art training to airlines
and regulators from throughout the Arab world. This would
also seem to be a logical opportunity to train Iraqis.
Gnehm

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