Iraqi Government Lifts Ban on International Cargo Flights into Kurdistan
Iraq’s government has allowed international cargo flights to resume service into Kurdistan after they were prohibited following the news that the region had plans to hold an independence referendum.
The decision is expected to affect cargo flights from Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates operating from the autonomous Kurdistan Region’s two main airports, in the capital Erbil and the second-largest city Sulaimaini. This after serious disruption to respective supply chain operations.
However there seems to be a breakdown in communication between the Baghdad government and the Kurdistan airport authorities.
Erbil International Airport director, Talar Faiq said: “We have not received any decision about the resumption of cargo flights and we are waiting for notification from Iraqi aviation authorities so that we can restart our flights.”
The federal government also did not notify the two airports in Erbil and Sulaimani when it ordered a halt to the cargo flights. Officials said they knew about that decision through the airlines themselves.
Iraq’s central government has control over Kurdish airspace, and in December 2012 denied landing rights to a plane carrying the Turkish energy minister into Erbil.
Both Baghdad and Erbil have been carrying out tit-for-tat moves against each other, ever since a jihadi-led advance plunged the country into turmoil and the Kurds said they were ready to quit Iraq and announced plans for an independence referendum.
Since Iraq’s second-largest city Mosul fell to the ISIS militants last month, Kurdish leaders have raised their tone about an independent Kurdish state as a way of retaining the Kurdish enclave’s relative stability and prosperity compared to the rest of Iraq.
Baghdad has stopped the monthly payments from the national budget to Kurdistan for the last seven months, causing a crisis in Kurdistan’s largely cash-based economy.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.