For Private Jets, a flight to Iraq is not as unusual as you might think it would be.
I am not saying it’s a common destination, but it’s one of the destinations!
And yes, I had to look at google map when I first read the crew briefing!
Flights to Iraq can be tricky and stressful.
Definitely you need to find out what permits are required and what action you should take in any possible scenario.
To summarise, the two main destination for a Private Jet in Iraq are Baghdad or Erbil.
Often, they are business trips.
The customer’s profile can be a CEO or a Head of State, Diplomatic, Ambassadors or Consul.
They can move there with bodyguards, press, entourage or business partners.
To clarify, they are not holiday destinations or leisure trips.
What is needed?
First of all, you need time.
Time to request all the documents to all the authorities and prepare all legal requirements.
In our case it took about one week of preparation and involved different departments such as dispatch, training, flight attendant manager, CEO, COO, the operating crew and crew scheduling manager.
Meanwhile, one of the most interesting things we did was to consult MedAir.
MedAir is a support tool for airlines and private jets, that can give you useful informations about the destination, how is the country divided, criminality, terrorism, embassies, hospitals, dental care, police service, cultural interaction with women, etc.
We learned that a woman should never go out alone and that anyone should go out after sunset.
We also learned about the local groups and how’s the political situation.
In this case, MedAir gave us the best and safest option about where to land, which was Erbil.
Erbil is considered the safest part of Iraq, and is a “medium alert” for kamikaze or shooting attacks.
Plus, MedAir advised us that it would have been safer to park the plane somewhere else for overnight.
The flight itself was a normal flight.
Catering, bedding (we were flying at night) and a normal management of the entire flight.
The locals very unlikely speak English, and this might be a challenge.
So it’s very much about the preparation, making sure nothing is left unattended or not discussed and we all have the same package of informations.
In conclusion, Private Jets often take you in places you wouldn’t expect to visit in your entire life, and this what makes the job so fascinating!