Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sweden suspends flights to Iraq as avaiation authority investigates report of missile fired at passenger jet

Above: A Nordic Airways MD-83 passenjer jet

Sweden: Rocket Targeted Iraq Flight

A European civil aviation authority said yesterday that it was reviewing security conditions at airports in northern Iraq after two pilots reported that their passenger airliner had been attacked by ground fire last week while taking off from Sulaimaniya.

The plane, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 operated by Nordic Airways and carrying more than 120 people, was not struck and continued to Stockholm.

But its pilots have told investigators that they saw the flash and light of a missile rise from the ground, arc near the plane and then drop away as they climbed between 3,000 and 6,000 feet, said Anders Lundblad, a spokesman for Luftfartsstyrelsen, the civil aviation authority in Sweden, where Nordic Airways is registered.

On Thursday night, the time of the reported attack, there was reported to be good weather and clear visibility.

Read the rest at the NY Times

Sweden: Rocket Targeted Iraq Flight

Sweden has suspended commercial flights to and from Iraq, the aviation authority said Tuesday, contending one of the country's passenger jets was targeted by a rocket last week as it left the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah.

An Iraqi airport official denied the plane came under fire, blaming Kurds who were hunting using spotlights that the pilots mistook for the arc of an incoming missile.

On Aug. 8, pilots of the Nordic Airways plane carrying 130 passengers noticed a trail of light arcing over the aircraft just after takeoff, Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Anders Lundblad said. The McDonnell Douglas MD83 was not hit and arrived safely in Stockholm.

Lundblad said preliminary information suggested "some kind of rocket" was fired at the plane.

Read the rest at the LA Times

Related Link:
Iraq denies Swedish passenger jet targeted by missile in Kurdistan