SkyLink gets $2.5m management contract for five Iraqi airports

DUBAI - The US Agency for International Development (USAID) earlier this month awarded a $2.5 million initial management contract for five Iraqi airports to SkyLink Air and Logistic Support (USA), bringing hope to airlines and traders in Dubai who wait on the wings to start loading relief cargo to Iraq once the airports there are operational.

By Jamila Qadir

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Published: Fri 16 May 2003, 1:19 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 9:16 PM

Ali Al Jallaf, director-general of Dubai Cargo Village, said that relief goods have been piling up in warehouses across Dubai, as some traders have been storing cargo in a bid to send it to Iraq by air. "Some types of goods, including medicines, cannot be sent by sea and since the sea link is also not there, there is only one way to send it by air."

He said both airlines operating out of Dubai and traders have been waiting eagerly for the contract to be awarded since the USAID launched the reconstruction plan of Iraq. The US-led coalition forces claim that the airports in the country are not operational.

The contract provides the assessment of civilian airports and collaboration for the timely repair, management of civilian airports for the expeditious reception and onward processing of humanitarian assistance, reconstruction material and personnel. SkyLink will provide technical expertise to assess and manage airports in Iraq, in order to facilitate humanitarian operations and restore normal transportation services to Iraq. USAID said that the re-opening and effective management of the airports is considered a critical link in the US government's humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to the people of Iraq.

The company will assess and manage the airports to insure that people, technical assistance, supplies, food and materials for reconstruction enter the country smoothly. Five Iraqi airports are covered under the terms of the contract. SkyLink will provide international staff with management expertise to assess and operate the airports, vehicles and equipment.

It will also develop plans to ensure smooth air freight and passenger service and prioritise improvements necessary to insure that the airports operate in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards. As the contract progresses, SkyLink will work with Iraqi staff in preparation for turning over management.

The airport administration and management contract is one of eight initial procurement actions issued by USAID as part of its overall relief and reconstruction efforts in Iraq. SkyLink has administered sensitive programmes in many post-conflict countries for the US government and the United Nations, including support for six US government departments, three major uniformed services, and provided security support operations using biometric surveys in Afghanistan.

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