Iraq had been under British control since 1917 and became independent in 1932. The monarchy was overthrown in 1958 in an army led revolution which itself was overthrown in 1968 by the Ba'ath Party. As with Kuwait Airways the initial fleet of Iraqi Airways, which had been formed in 1945, was typically British. Vickers Viscounts even operated a multi-stop route to London.
The airline's first jets were the Trident 1Es registered YI-AEA-AEC, the last of which arrived in April 1966. The Tridents ranged as far as London and Delhi with the aid of intermediate fuel stops. One of the Iraqi Tridents made what must rank as one of the longest and most unusual Trident flights when it transported the Iraqi delegation to the United Nations in New York. It may be that one of the aircraft was fitted with a VIP interior as by 1970 the Iraqi schedule only shows two aircraft - one with first class and one without. Their utilisation appears to have been very low with only one needed half the week whilst the London flights (four a week) took two days return.
The usage of the Iraqi Tridents appears to have become more and more sporadic during the 1970s. By 1975 there are no Tridents left in the timetable though they may have continued in operation as backups. Interestingly Iraqi Airways actually acquired several Tupolev Tu-124s from Russia in 1974, however the primary replacement for the Tridents was a mix of 727s and 737s. A trio of new 727-200s in 1977 may have been the final end for the British tri-jets.
All three Iraqi aircraft were stored at Baghdad and there were reports of a derelict airframe being used by Republican Guard forces for training prior to the Gulf War, which would be an all too obvious signal of the failure of relations between the two ex-Trident operators. One can hardly feel that the Iraqis made the best use of their Tridents, but nevertheless they did have some of the longer careers of the type even if at the time of their storage they probably had relatively few miles on the clock.
Iraqi Airways Tridents. PPruNe Network
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: