Emirates begins service to Iraq
Emirates, the most recent in a number of carriers exploring scheduled services to Iraq, has commenced passenger and cargo services from Dubai to Basra. The carrier plans to fly A330s to Iraq Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
“Iraq is experiencing a surge in growth and it is our goal to help the country prosper and flourish," Tim Clark, Emirates' president, said in a statement. "The potential for this destination is significant, and Emirates is committed to working alongside the Iraqi authorities to make Basra a success."
The carrier estimates it will transport 130 tonnes of cargo a week into the country. Imported freight will likely include oil-industry equipment as well as food, car parts, medical products, electronics and textiles. Goods traveling to the U.S., UK and other destinations will consist of dates and grains, wool, and petroleum products.
Carriers have been re-establishing scheduled flights to Iraq for the past couple of years. Iraqi Airways began regular cargo flights out of the country in September 2009. Etihad began flights to Baghdad in April 2010 and added the northern city of Erbil later that June. Low-cost carrier Flydubai now lists Erbil and Sulaimaniyah among its services, and Expo Aviation flies from Dubai to Baghdad, Balad, Erbil and Sulaimaniyah.
Gulf Air, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines all announced the resumption of flights into the country, but have either pushed back start dates or are still trying to get services off the ground. Gulf Air was to begin Basra services in October 2010 and then again in December, and Lufthansa had targeted a start date of April 2010 for its flights to Erbil.