The Governor of Sulaymaniyah, a city in Iraqi Kurdistan, says the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (IQCAA) has engaged the Turkish government over the reopening of its airspace to flights into/out of Sulaymaniyah International Airport.

Speaking to the Rudaw news agency, Hafal Abu Bakr said IQCAA officials raised the issue during a meeting with Turkish officials.

"In light of what they have told us, and we have spoken with the Iraqi aviation authority who have spoken to Turkey too, there is hope that this problem will be resolved in a near future. There is hope that Turkey will reopen its airspace to Sulaimani airport,” he said.

“In the first place, the Turkish airspace will at least reopen for international flights to and from Sulaimani International Airport, and then to Turkish flights bound to Sulaimani International Airport,” he added.

Turkey imposed the ban in September last year after Baghdad shut off Kurdistan's international flight connectivity following its independence referendum. Although Iraq restored international service to both Erbil and Sulaymaniyah in March, Turkey has only done so for the former but not the latter.

According to Rudaw, the move is based on security concerns and is a means of pressuring the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) – which controls the provincial administration – to stop aiding the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrilla movement.

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, the only services to/from Sulaymaniyah that transit Turkish airspace are those operated by Iraqi Airways to London Gatwick. In that case, the flight stops in Erbil before making both its inbound and outbound journeys.