wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03AMMAN4535 2003-07-23 07:52:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

USG PERSONNEL DISADVANTAGED BY AMMAN-BAGHDAD AIR

Tags:   EAIR ETRD EINV JO 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

230752Z Jul 03
					  UNCLAS AMMAN 004535 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

CPA FOR HATFIELD
DEPT FOR EB/TRA/BYERLY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ETRD EINV JO
SUBJECT: USG PERSONNEL DISADVANTAGED BY AMMAN-BAGHDAD AIR
PROTOCOLS


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY


1. ACTION RECOMMENDATION AT PARA 6.



2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Personnel from various U.S. and other
governments' agencies have expressed concern over a shortage
of capacity on flights into and out of Baghdad via Amman.
Restrictions on the use of the two carriers currently
operating under CPA mandate have led to USG passengers being
assigned a low priority, creating a bottleneck in travel and
forcing personnel to travel more dangerous overland routes
in some cases. Royal Jordanian, which is permitted to
provide humanitarian support on a case-by-case basis, is not
likely to offer additional slots in Amman to competing
carriers to increase capacity given its desire to be the
primary carrier, humanitarian or otherwise, on the route. An
agreement that permits an additional carrier to operate an
Amman-Baghdad route that gives priority to personnel
traveling on USG business appears to be the optimum solution.
END SUMMARY



3. (SBU) Two carriers currently provide regular
humanitarian-related charter air service into Baghdad: Air
Serv, a non-profit carrier, funded through USAID; and a UN
charter. Air Serv offers once-daily service six days per
week, while the UN operates two flights per day five days per
week. RJ is permitted to offer humanitarian support flights
to Baghdad on a case-by-case basis. Commercial air service
to Baghdad is not yet viable due to security concerns.



4. (SBU) Post MAP and Econ sections have been made aware of
recent difficulties USG personnel face when attempting to
travel via air to or from Baghdad on official business.
Under a grant protocol it has with USAID, Air Serv has three
levels of priority for its Amman-Baghdad-Amman service: USAID
personnel have precedence, followed by international and
other non-governmental humanitarian organizations, and
finally "others qualified", a catch-all category that
includes journalists, business people with some humanitarian
link, and government officials. However, Air Serv capacity
is presently only 14-20 seats per flight, and they fill up
quickly. The UN flights have similar priority considerations
for UN officials and NGOs, leaving little room for anyone
else. As national carrier and previously-exclusive operator
of the Amman-Baghdad route, RJ is unwilling to offer
additional slots at its Amman hub to Air Serv, the UN, or any
other carrier it sees as competition, either current or
future, for its service to Baghdad.



5. (SBU) Consequently, USG officials and other diplomatic
personnel have few alternatives. (Note: While an overland
route from Amman to Baghdad is available and oft-traveled,
the journey can potentially be dangerous. A MAP contact told
us that a group of Germans, including the German Charge for
Baghdad, were attacked on the Amman-Baghdad road last week
and had to be rescued. END NOTE) Many missions are delayed
or scrapped entirely, due to the inability of officials to
fit into the priority categories.



6. (SBU) RECOMMENDATION: As the current set-up does not
allow for needed access to Baghdad for USG and other
governments' personnel, it would be in our interests to
support approval for a charter arrangement to accommodate the
USG/diplomatic community's needs. Options that have been
discussed include: securing GOJ approval for additional Air
Serv flights, giving priority to USG personnel; arranging for
RJ charter service for USG and diplomatic passengers; or
supporting a charter service from a third location, such as
Aqaba or Cyprus. (NOTE: Under an MOU reached with Aqaba
Special Economic Zone Chief Commissioner Akel Biltaji, a
private charter service is currently operating out of Aqaba,
out of RJ's reach. END NOTE) MAP officials at post are
ready to work with local authorities at both ends to make
this happen, pending Department guidance. END COMMENT
HALE