Iraqi Airways takes delivery of Boeing 777

Updated 15 December 2012
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Iraqi Airways takes delivery of Boeing 777

BAGHDAD: The first new Boeing jetliner sold to Iraq in years touched down in Baghdad yesterday, signaling the country's determination to rebuild its economy after decades of war and sanctions.
Iraq is eager to improve its creaky aviation industry, which lags far behind that of its energy-rich neighbors. Boeing's delivery of the twin-aisle 777-200LR plane comes less than two weeks after the company's chief rival Airbus announced the delivery of one of its own wide-body planes to Iraq.
"The arrival of the Boeing today is a step forward in building a big and reliable Iraqi Airways fleet," Iraqi Transportation Ministry spokesman Karim Al-Nouri said.
More planes are coming. Iraq has ordered another 30 of Boeing's smaller 737-800 model and 10 of its new 787. The first of the 737s will be delivered in the middle of next year, according to the Chicago-based plane maker.
Airbus in early December said it had delivered its first A330-200 to Iraq. Iraqi Airways, which plans to use that plane on European and other international routes, already operates two Airbus A321s.
Iraqi Airways' efforts to turn itself around have been hobbled by aging equipment, a lack of adequately trained staff and a long-running dispute with Kuwait stemming from Saddam Hussein's invasion in 1990.
The disagreement centered on Kuwait's accusations that Saddam's regime stole 10 airplanes and millions of dollars' worth of equipment and spare parts during the invasion. Kuwait earlier wanted to $1.2 billion in reparations, which Iraq's postwar leaders had resisted paying.
Iraq and Kuwait earlier this year reached a $ 500 million deal to settle the airline feud, paving the way for Iraqi Airways to resume normal operations. The dispute had scuttled at least one planned Iraqi Airways route, between Baghdad and London, after Kuwait attempted to confiscate the Iraqi plane in the British capital.
As Iraqi Airways has struggled, foreign airlines have increasingly begun flying to the country, eating into the national carrier's share of the market.
They include airlines from neighboring countries, including Turkish Airlines and Royal Jordanian, and well-funded Gulf airlines such as Emirates and Etihad Airways. Austrian Airlines last year became the first major Western carrier to resume regular flights to Baghdad since the 2003 US-led invasion.
Foreign airlines are increasingly offering flights to other Iraqi cities as well, particularly Irbil in the self-ruled Kurdish region. The Kurds' northern enclave is much safer than the capital and is a popular destination for foreign investors looking to break into the Iraqi market.
No US commercial airlines fly regularly to Iraq. The US Federal Aviation Administration last week lifted a 16-year-old a ban on American carriers flying to Irbil and Sulaimaniyah, also in the Kurdish area. The agency said flights to other Iraqi airports may be allowed in the future.


World Cup football fakes keep Dubai’s ‘Dolce & Karama’ traders busy

Updated 22 June 2018
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World Cup football fakes keep Dubai’s ‘Dolce & Karama’ traders busy

  • Dubai's “Dolce and Karama” is the emirate's copycat capital
  • Neymar Jr shirts are proving especially popular with local shoppers

DUBAI: Tucked away in an old residential district and far from Dubai’s glitzy air-conditioned malls, the Karama area of the city is doing a roaring trade in selling World Cup football shirts.

But if you’re looking for the genuine article, you may have come to the wrong place.

Karama is Dubai's copycat capital where the knockoff imitations of the world's most famous fashion brands are sold for a fraction of the genuine price.

Known to some locals jokingly by the epithet “Dolce and Karama,” a play on the Dolce & Gabbana Italian fashion house, this is a place where if you have to ask the price, you probably can afford it.

With three weeks to go until football’s new world champions are crowned, the world’s biggest sporting tournament is keeping the tills chiming on the street that has become notorious for selling everything from fake Luis Vuitton bags to knockoff Ray-Ban sunglasses.

However since the tournament kicked off just over a week ago, it’s been football not fashion, that has put a smile on the face of traders.

Retailing for a fraction of their high-street cost, the copycat shirts — especially those bearing the name of Brazilian superstar Neymar — are flying off the stalls less than week into the tournament, as UAE-based fans who want to don the colors of their favorite team or player, look for bargains.

Mohammad Ashraf has been trading in Dubai’s Karama Shopping Complex for 15 years.

At his store, Mina Fashion, Ashraf said the World Cup has brought a booming trade.

When asked how many shirts he would sell prior to the Fifa World Cup, he shrugged.

“Maybe one, two — maximum five a day,” he said.

But the Indian trader has quadrupled his business since last week’s kick-off.

“Now, we have been very busy,” he said. “We sell at least 20 pieces a day — maybe more,” he said.

His football shirts are a fraction of the cost of the genuine article on sale in Dubai malls where retailers are feeling the pressure from the growth of online rivals, the introduction of VAT and the strong dollar to which the UAE dirham is pegged — that is hitting tourist spending hard.

Karama football shirts sell for about 65 dirhams ($18) in adult size and 55 dirhams for children. But the real deal costs three or four times as much a few miles down the road in the Dubai Mall, the city’s biggest tourist draw.

In Karama, the football shirts of the Brazil, Argentina and Germany teams have been among the biggest sellers.

And the most popular player?

Ashraf said shirts bearing the name of Brazilian footballer Neymar da Sila Santos Junior have been flying off the shelves.

Abdulla Javid, runs Nujoom Al Maleb in the Karama shopping district — a shop selling a variety of knock-off sportswear — including World Cup shirts for men, youths and children.

“They are not real, not branded — branded ones are very expensive,” he said.

“We have shirts for Germany, for Argentina, for Portugal, for Sweden, for Brazil and for Belgium,” he said, pointing to racks of multi-colored football shirts.

Mens shirts retail for about 45 dirhams for adult sizes in his shop and 40 dirhams for youths. For young children, he sells shirts and shorts for a combined price of 30 dirhams.

The World Cup has also been a welcome boom for business.

“Before we sell maybe between five to 10 (shirts) a day,” he said. “Now, at least 20 to 30 pieces a day. It has been very busy. This time is a good time for us.”

Also at Karama Shopping Complex is Zico Sports.

Ahmed Jaber, a 53-year-old trader, said there are good deals to be found in at the shop he has worked in since the 1980s.

He sells football shirts that are both “branded” and “non-branded” — in other words the genuine article and cheaper knock-offs.

He said customers have been happy to shell out for the genuine football shirts for the adult sizes — which he sells for 379 dirhams, but for children, shoppers prefer to buy the fake football shirts, which he sells for about 30 dirhams.

The most popular shirts since the start of World Cup have been for Brazil, Argentina and France, he said, but his shops have an abundance of kit for all competing countries.

When he asked how the 2018 World Cup had been for business, he laughed.

“Not bad at all!,” he said.