http://diyaruna.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_di/features/2018/03/06/feature-02

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Transportation |

Mosul International Airport reconstruction begins

By Khalid al-Taie

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Iraqi policemen in November 2016 stand on the outskirts of Mosul Airport before it was recaptured from the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria'. [Photo courtesy of the Iraqi Federal Police Command]

Reconstruction of Mosul International Airport, which was almost fully destroyed by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), has commenced, Ninawa province's local administration announced Tuesday (March 6th).

The local authority has launched the first phase of reconstruction of the civil airport, located five kilometres south of the city of Mosul, with several companies having submitted bids to win the airport's rebuilding project, the province’s media director Salar Kuran told Diyaruna.

ISIS militants had flattened the airport after destroying all its buildings and infrastructure, with the level of damage standing at 100%, according to Kuran.

Immediately after overtaking Mosul in June 2014, the group blew up the airport’s runway and later its control towers and reception, departure, administration and security halls.

Before the start of the battles to liberate Mosul in October 2016, ISIS elements booby-trapped the airport with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and dug trenches to prevent it from being used by the liberating forces for air landing.

Vital project

The airport, built in 1920, was rehabilitated for air traffic in 2008 and a major plan was designed to develop it, but was put on hold after ISIS invaded Mosul.

Rebuilding the airport is "one of the most vital projects in the coming phase", Kuran said, noting that the resumption of flights is key to reviving the province after the war.

The local administration attaches great importance to the transport sector for its major role in promoting tourism, travel and investment, reviving commercial markets and developing cities, he said.

"We have reopened all land roads linking Mosul to other cities, the most recent of which has been the Mosul-Dohuk road, which was opened on Monday (March 5th)," he said.

The 75-kilometre long road was closed to passengers and cargo trucks during ISIS's control of Mosul.

The road had not been severely damaged and is now fully secure through co-ordination between army, police and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, he said.

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