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Emirates piles on Iraqi capacity

By Hpanchal on June 22, 2012

Emirates Airline will begin passenger service from Dubai to Erbil, Iraq, four times each week starting in August. The service will be offered daily starting in September. The Airbus 340-300 service comes with room for 13 tonnes of cargo in the belly hold, increasing tonnage on what has been a very profitable route for Emirates SkyCargo.

Three weekly freighter flights to Erbil have been in operation since February 2011. Emirates SkyCargo transports machinery for the oil and gas industry from the city using Boeing 777F equipment. With the new passenger service, weekly capacity to Erbil will stand at more than 400 tonnes.

“Since we first launched flights into Iraq, we have seen demand for our services there increase tenfold,” Emirates Airline and Group’s CEO, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed AlMaktoum, said in a statement.

“We have been facilitating international trade between Erbil and destinations across our network for some time, so we already have a deep understanding of the market and its potential for strong revenue,” he continued. “The launch of Erbil will be our third in Iraq within 18 months, a testament not only to the country’s potential but also to our own ability to swiftly enter previously underserved markets.”

Emirates’ new service will also reap the tonnage benefits from construction projects currently underway in Erbil. One such project outlined in an Emirates press release is a $1.6 billion media center.

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