Emirates will start passenger services to Baghdad, its second destination in Iraq, four times a week from November 13, the carrier said in a statement Tuesday.
For the carrier, which began flights to Basra with four a week in Iraq last February, Baghdad marks the fifth destination to be launched this year.
With Geneva route inaugurated this month, Emirates will fly to Copenhagen and St Petersburg on August 1 and November 1, respectively.
"Baghdad is a strategically important destination for Emirates. Its geographical location, coupled with the fact that few international carriers operate there, makes it the perfect destination for us to tap into and derive revenue from," Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group, said in a statement.
He added that with more than five million residents in Baghdad and its surrounding districts, this new service will give them direct access to a vast global network.
Meanwhile, Iraqi nationals living in Baghdad and outside Iraq are also expected to be users of this new service, Emirates said, adding that it will provide travellers with good onward connections to many of Emirates' destinations across the GCC, Levant, India, China and the UK via Dubai.
The airline also said that the passenger mix travelling in and out of Iraq was likely to come mainly from industry and government personnel, with the construction, telecommunications and oil sectors projected to make up three of the largest industry segments.
Emirates will operate services to Iraq on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with flight EK941 departing Dubai at 7:55am and touching down at Baghdad International Airport at 9:40am.
At 11:35am, the return flight EK942 will depart Baghdad and arrive in Dubai at 2:55pm.
Dubai As the war-ravaged country slowly revives international trade links as business confidence kicks in, most of the carriers global as well as Gulf carriers are resuming operations into Iraq after almost a 20-year hiatus since the outbreak of the Gulf War in 1990.
In the last couple of years, a number of carriers have commenced operations to Iraq.
These include Etihad Airways, which launched weekly flights to Baghdad in April last year, with five return services per week to the Iraqi capital, followed by Arbil in northern Iraq in June 2010.
In mid-2010, flydubai launched flights to the Kurdistan region with direct flights to Arbil.
EgyptAir said this week it will resume flights to Iraq next month after a 21-year break, with seven weekly flights to Iraq four to Baghdad and three to Arbil in Kurdistan.
Similarly, an Austrian Airlines flight landed in Baghdad last week, and Lufthansa ended its 20-year absence with service to Arbil.
"The resounding strength of its services into Basra coupled with the better domestic and security apparatus in Iraq means that the capital city is now back on the map for millions of would-be travellers," said Saj Ahmad, an aviation analyst with
UK-based FBE Aerospace.
From / Gulf News