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The major international airport located about 16 km west of Baghdad, Iraq, which has been open sporadically for passenger traffic since August 17, 2000. Prior to that date, it was closed for ten years largely as a result of Iraq's actions against Kuwait that sparked the Gulf War.

Baghdad International, formerly Saddam International Airport (airport code SDA) was named after Saddam Hussein, in a gesture of egotism that no late-night news parody show can resist mocking. Iraqi Airways, the country's national airline, had a hub at Saddam International but is believed to have moved most of its fleet to other airports in the region (source: Wikipedia).

The airport also served as a military post for the Iraqi army, and as such was under regular military surveillance. Al Fathah Airfield, as of 1991, housed eight hardened aircraft shelters, and was considered a Target of Opportunity during the War on Iraq 2003.

When SDA was mentioned in the news prior to 2003, it was usually because some foreign dignitary was landing there for the first time. Few international flights traveled there due to punishing trade sanctions and a U.S.- and British-enforced No Fly Zone that restricts or eliminates most flight paths. Between 2000 and 2003, flights out of Baghdad only traveled to other Iraqi cities like Basra, and secretly to sacred Muslim sites for holidays.

Update Apr 9 2003: As part of the War on Iraq 2003, U.S.-led troops have captured Saddam International Airport and appropriated it for landing military aircraft. TallRoo informs me that the airport has been renamed to Baghdad International Airport. The name change occurred around April 4, 2003, once the airport was secured.

Wikipedia article: Baghdad airport (formerly Saddam International Airport)

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