September 27, 2017 / 3:50 PM / a year ago

flydubai suspends flights to Erbil after referendum

DUBAI (Reuters) - Budget carrier flydubai said on Wednesday it was temporarily suspending its flights to Erbil, complying with an Iraqi government demand following an independence referendum in Kurdish-held northern Iraq.

A Kurdish woman takes a selfie to show support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Erbil. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Flights would be suspended to that region’s main city from Sept. 30, a spokesman said, following similar announcements from other airlines.

People in northern Iraq voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence in Monday’s non-binding vote that was opposed by Baghdad, Turkey and Iran, who all fear it could encourage separatism among their own Kurdish populations.

The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority sent a notice on Wednesday to foreign airlines telling them international flights to Erbil and Sulaimaniya in the Kurdish region would be suspended on Friday at 1500 GMT and only domestic flights allowed.

Reporting By Alexander Cornwell

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