Readers of Al-Rai, an Arabic daily newspaper owned by the Jordanian government, were treated to an intriguing offer in Tuesday’s edition. “Iraqi Airways wants to sell three Boeing 727-200s and two Boeing 707s which are currently located at [Jordan’s] Queen Alia International Airport,” said an advertisement, adding that bids will be accepted through October 20. But buyer beware, the jets have been parked in Jordan since 1990 because Saddam Hussein wanted to protect them during the first Gulf War after invading Kuwait.
Iraq’s current Transportation Ministry spokesman Aqeel Hadi Kawthar doesn’t seem like much of a salesman. “These planes are very old and we want to get rid of their parking fees in Jordan,” Kawthar told the AP, adding that buying new aircraft would be cheaper than repairing and refurbishing the jets that are over 20 years old.
Seems like the only market for the planes would be collectors or museums, but Iraqi Airways may need the cash. The Iraqi government announced in May that the airline was being dissolved because Kuwait wants $1.2 billion in reparations, alleging Iraq stole 10 planes during the 1990 invasion. Iraqi Airways is continuing to operate until its fully liquidated, which Iraqi law dictates must happen within three years.
A sixth plane was also parked in 1990 with the five jets that are for sale — and it was used by Saddam himself! However, Kawthar says the Saddam jet is not for sale. “The presidential plane is likely to be refurbished.”