Authorities in the autonomous region of Kurdistan, in northern Iraq, have filed a complaint with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) following the Iraqi government's decision to close the region's airspace to international traffic from Friday, September 29.

Baghdad ordered all international services to Erbil and Sulaymaniyah to cease after Kurdish authorities refused to hand over control of the airports to the central government. The move came after the region's Kurd population voted 92.7% in favour of cessation from Iraq in a referendum the Iraqi government had refused to recognize.

According to The National newspaper, Kurdistan's complaint to ICAO claims Baghdad’s air embargo was blocking aid from getting to displaced people.

International operators have thus far complied with Baghdad's order with Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines suspending their respective services alongside EgyptAir, Air Arabia, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, and Mahan Air.

In terms of the impact on Kurdistan's locally-based operators, as of September 29, ZagrosJet (Z4, Erbil) has suspended flight operations following the return of its only active aircraft, A321-200 TC-OBJ (msn 835), to Turkey's Onur Air (8Q, Istanbul New) from which it had been wet-leased.

Though international flights have been suspended, domestic services have continued through Iraqi Airways (IA, Baghdad). An Iraqi Ministry of Transport statement says a special operations room has been set up to handle the flux of passengers travelling abroad from Kurdistan albeit using Baghdad as an international gateway. To that end, Iraq will allow foreigners in the Kurdistan Region to transit through Baghdad despite not holding an Iraqi visa.