US authorities on Friday lifted a nearly 13-year-old ban on air service to Iraq, clearing the way to resuming commercial flights from the United States.
Air links were banned under an order issued August 8, 1990 by the US Department of Transportation, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
The DOT on Friday formally rescinded the ban after the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control lifted US economic sanctions on Baghdad.
"This is a necessary step, albeit intermediate, in the process of re-establishing commercial air service to Iraq," said Transport ation Secretary Norman Mineta.
"We are working closely with Ambassador (US civilian administrator Paul) Bremer in order to help Iraq to quickly reopen a safe and secur e aviation link with the rest of the world."
The DOT would still have to review individual applications from any carrier seeking to operate flights to Iraq from the United States.