Iraqi Airways (IA, Baghdad) will restart services to the European Union (Germany and Denmark) and the United Kingdom in December 2020, using a B737-800 wet-leased from Slovakia's Air Explore (ED, Bratislava).

"We signed a contract with Air Explore to launch four flights from Germany, one to Copenhagen Kastrup, and another from London from the beginning of December," the representative of the carrier in Germany, Balsam Al-Samer told the Iraqi News Agency.

Iraqi Airways has been on the European Union's blacklist since 2015 owing to concerns about the state-owned carrier's safety and security oversight. However, the ban does not affect services operated with aircraft that are wet-leased from EU-approved carriers.

Despite the ban, Iraqi Airways resumed in-house operations to Germany from both Baghdad and Erbil in 2017 and continued them through the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020. While the flights were operated under Iraqi Airways' code and with A320-200s registered in Iraq and in the carrier's livery, Al Arabiya reported at that time that in fact, it was "a convoluted double-leasing agreement that shifted responsibility for operating, maintaining and overseeing the aircraft" to AtlasGlobal (KK, Istanbul New).

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Air Explore operates seven B737-800s. The Slovak ACMI/charter specialist has wet-leased its aircraft to Iraqi Airways in the past.