World Bulletin / News Desk
“Based on a request by the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority, all the airline’s flights to Erbil will be indefinitely suspended as of Friday, Sept. 29,”EgyptAir said in a Wednesday press release.
EgyptAir currently operates three flights a week between Cairo and Erbil.
Hours later, Jordan's national carrier, Royal Jordanian, followed suit, announcing that it too would suspend all flights into Erbil as of Friday.
Earlier Wednesday, Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines, too, announced plans to halt all flights -- also starting Friday -- both to and from northern Iraq’s Kurdish region.
Turkey's Consulate in Erbil also announced on Wednesday that flights from Turkey to northern Iraq would be suspended as of Friday.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the consulate said Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority had announced the suspension of flights to and from Erbil as well as Sulaymaniyah as of Sept. 29.
The moves come amid mounting tension between Baghdad and northern Iraq’s Kurdish region over the latter’s decision to hold an illegitimate referendum on regional independence.
Monday’s controversial referendum had faced opposition from most international actors, many of whom had warned that the poll would further destabilize the region and distract from the ongoing fight against ISIL.