Erbil International Airport (EIA) prevented an Iranian aircraft from landing on Monday over lack of prior coordination, according to authorities in the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
According to Rudaw, EIA Director Ahmed Hoshyar said that the airport was not informed of the plane’s landing beforehand.
“A plane arrived at Erbil’s sky from Urmia, but since we were not informed beforehand and they have no official permit or representative, we did not allow it to land,” said Hoshyar.
Erbil was scheduled to have its first two-way flight between Urmia and the Kurdish capital on Monday.
However, Hoshyar said that the airport management had previously expressed to Tehran the need to have an Iranian airline representative at Erbil airport before the flight could arrive in the Kurdish capital.
Iranian authorities seem to have ignored the calls and the plane was kept in the sky.
“We do not know what happened to the plane and where it is headed, but we have told the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority and they will decide if the plane will return to Urmia or land somewhere else,” Hoshyar said.
Kurdistan 24 reported that EIA authorities had requested from Pouya Air, the Iranian cargo airline operating the barred flight, to present information about the plane, its passengers and cargo four days ago.
However, Pouya Air failed to fulfill the protocols and was eventually banned from landing at EIA.
According to Rudaw, the Iranian consulate attributed the problem to a “lack of coordination,” indicating that it is a “temporary issue” between the two airports, and that flights will resume starting next Monday.
Tensions broke out between the KRG and Iran in recent months, especially after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards attacked Erbil last March with about 10 ballistic missiles.
The unprecedented attack was apparently targeting the US and its allies. Other attacks have targeted oil refineries in Erbil, but no party has claimed responsibility.