Iraqi Airways, the national carrier of Iraq, has announced its decision to auction off two aging Boeing 747s that have been resting at Tozeur-Nefta airport in Tunisia for over three decades. As reported by Flight Global magazine, the aircraft in question, a Boeing 747 SP with the registration YI-ALM and a Boeing 747-200 with the registration YI-AGP, were delivered directly to Iraqi Airways in 1982 and have been parked at the Tunisian airport since 1990/1991.
The airline is set to auction off these historic aircraft on August 16, 2023. The YI-ALM served as a government plane for the then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, while the YI-AGP was a 747-200 C variant, capable of versatile passenger and cargo configurations, predominantly used as a cargo aircraft.
The decision to park the aircraft in Tunisia dates back to the eve of the Second Gulf War in 1990/1991. Saddam Hussein ordered the planes to be moved to the Tozeur-Nefta desert airport to safeguard them from potential bombardment during the conflict. Following this, the aircraft remained grounded and out of service for more than 30 years.
The estimated value for each aircraft stands at $494,000, and interested buyers must submit a deposit of 20% of this value to the Iraqi Ministry of Finance to participate in the auction. The successful bidder will be required to complete the transaction within seven days of the auction date. Iraqi Airways has not disclosed the current condition of the aircraft, leaving potential buyers curious about their airworthiness and any required restoration work.
Both Boeing 747s are equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW-JT9D engines, which were state-of-the-art during their time of manufacture. However, given their extended period of inactivity, extensive maintenance and refurbishment may be necessary to bring them back to operational standards.
This is not the first attempt by Iraqi Airways to find new homes for these vintage jumbo jets. Back in 2010, the airline reportedly attempted to sell the aircraft, but the efforts did not yield the desired outcome. Now, after more than three decades of sitting idle, the time has come for aviation enthusiasts or potential buyers to seize the opportunity to own a piece of aviation history.