Honestly, if you look at the list of airports in Iraq which welcome flights from international destination you’d think we are already listed as a top ten destination on CN Traveller.
Iraq has a total of 12 ‘airports’ .. they really were all military landing strips turned ‘civlian’ sometime in the 80’s and 90’s. And now they’re being opened to international flights.
The latest addition was the airport in Najaf city. This has been slated for development for a very long time. Najaf is a very important holy city for Shia Muslims, pilgrims are expected to come from as far as India and Pakistan.
This week it has seen its first test as pilgrims arrive for the commemoration of Arbaeen al-Hussein which marks the end of the mourning period for Imam Hussein the grandson of the prophet Mohammed.
A recent press release said that the Najaf airport is expecting 40, yes four zero, flights to arrive over the week’s period carrying travellers for this Monday’s celebrations. And two days ago it received a whopping 1300 travellers in one day.
You might scoff but when you see what it actually is you’ll know why they’re excited.. it’s practically a shed beside a 3km strip in the middle of the desert (GMaps link, make sure you have the sat view turned on).