Air Force turns over air traffic control to Iraqis

The Air Force says it is nearly ready to turn air traffic control in Iraq over to Iraqis. As part of Operation New Dawn, Air Force air traffic controllers have been working side-by-side with Iraqi civilian controllers and airmen. The goal is to transition the airspace back to Iraqi control before the last plane carrying Americans takes off.

Air Force officials said communication remains a big challenge, since most of the would-be Iraqi controllers know little English. One Senior Airman told the Air Force News service the Iraqis listen for certain key words to know when they are supposed to take off or land. The work, aided by contactors, takes place at Air Base Ali.

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