A number of Middle East airlines have halted flights to the Iraqi city of Najaf after days of protests and unrest.
On Friday, hundreds of protestors stormed the Shi’ite holy city’s airport, part of larger protests about corruption and poorly managed government services that have wracked the southern port city of Basra for several days.
According to various news outlets, protesters in Najaf had entered the airport’s main hall. Some had reportedly crossed onto the airport tarmac.
Following the Friday incident, Iraqi transportation authorities announced that the airport would close. The airport re-opened on Sunday, the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office said in an announcement.
In a statement, Flydubai said that its flights between Dubai and Najaf – FZ221 and FZ222 – were cancelled “due to disruption on the ground at Najaf Airport until 22nd July 2018.”
“We are in touch with the relevant authorities and continue to monitor the situation,” a Flydubai spokesperson said. “Our passengers can rebook to a later date or receive a refund.”
Royal Jordanian Airlines, which operates four weekly scheduled flights to Najaf, announced that it was halting services from Amman “until further notice, in view of the security situation at Najaf Airport.”
With the announcement, Najaf becomes the ninth Royal Jordanian destination to be suspended for security reasons, in addition to Mosul in Iraq, Damascus and Aleppo in Syria, Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata in Libya and Aden in Yemen.
Additionally, Kuwait Airways announced it was also halting flights, and that existing bookings would either be transferred to other companies or refunded without penalties.
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