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Our Baghdad Air Traffic Services colleagues, achieving positive outcomes for Iraqi aviation and airspace

Since 2011, Serco have provided Air Traffic Control, Aeronautical Information Services and training support to the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA). In 2018, Riad Chehayeb, Contract Director for the Serco-operated Baghdad Air Traffic Services, and his team have both won Pulse Awards for service above and beyond expectations.

In addition to fulfilling his operational leadership role, Riad has strived to promote our vision for the future of civil aviation in Iraq whilst managing complex customer expectations and maintaining staff morale and engagement. These objectives have been made all the more challenging by acute political and economic instability and uncertainty. However, Riad has excelled in fulfilling these demanding requirements, managing all local and international relationships to a high standard and helping to secure an integral role for Serco in supporting the ongoing progression of both the aviation sector and economy in Iraq.

In October 2017 the Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs) of the ICAA went on strike for two-and-a-half days. Emergency working conditions were implemented immediately and all staff were mobilised on short notice to maintain and provide extended ATC services to aircraft flying in Iraq airspace. For some staff, that meant working outside normal hours and cancelling planned leave. Non-operational staff took on operational support responsibilities on a 24-hour basis whilst our ATCOs worked extended hours. There was also a high level of transparency with the striking ATCOs to communicate that our priority was safety and not to undermine them. As a result, we were able to manage a very difficult, politically sensitive and safety-critical situation without serious incident whilst keeping Iraqi airspace open.