Iraqi pilot refuses to take off until passengers pay for petrol

Iraqi pilot refuses to take off until passengers pay for petrol
A pilot asked passengers to pay $3,000 between them for the petrol for a flight from Tunis to Baghdad.
2 min read
29 July, 2019
Passengers going to Baghdad were stranded in Tunis [YouTube]
Passengers travelling to Iraq from Tunisia were left outraged after the pilot refused to take off until he collected petrol money from them.

The Iraqi plane was travelling from Carthage International Airport in the Tunisian capital towards Baghdad, but was delayed for a number of hours after there was not enough petrol for the full flight.

The pilot, who was asked to pay for the petrol, refused to do so and said he wouldn't take off unless the passengers raised $3,000 to cover the cost.

The argument sparked protests and riots in the airport.

One passenger filmed the scene, complaining about the situation and showing people sleeping on the airport chairs.

"Look at the Iraqi airlines - they put us all in trouble and made us all sit", he said in a video that has been widely circulated on Arab social media circles.

Initially, the plane was thought to be detained for political reasons.

The Tunisian Embassy in Iraq issued a statement clarifying the incident and said that the Iraqi plane was not detained, but "the delay of the plane to take off was due to the delay of the commander to pay the amount allocated to fuel the plane."

The statement said that the matter was settled with the Iraqi embassy in Tunisia, which then resorted to paying for the cost of the fuel.

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