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First Iraqi flight to London in 20 years lands at Gatwick

London, England (CNN) -- The first commercial flight from Iraq to the United Kingdom in 20 years landed at London's Gatwick Airport late Sunday night and took off for Baghdad Monday morning.

Commercial air links were cut after the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq for invading Kuwait in 1990.

Iraqi Minister of Transportation Karim Mahdi Salih and other ministry officials were on the first flight, the ministry said.

Flight service between Baghdad and London was originally scheduled to kick off on April 17, but was delayed by a cloud of volcanic ash which shut down much of Europe's airspace, said Amar Naser of IKB Travel.

The agency is handling British bookings for the Iraqi Airways flights.

The first flight was full, with commercial passengers joining the ministry officials, Naser said.

Iraqi Airways plans two flights a week between Baghdad and London, the ministry said.

The flights are due to run on Mondays and Saturdays, with a stopover for security checks in Malmo, Sweden, according to IKB Travel. The layover lasts three hours.

Round-trip economy tickets cost 580 British pounds ($895), while business class costs 1,280 pounds ($1,976).

The resumption of commercial flights between Iraq and the United Kingdom comes almost a year after the launch of air links between Afghanistan and Europe.

Safi Airlines flies between Kabul and Frankfurt, Germany, three times a week.

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