Etihad to launch Baghdad flights this months

19 Apr 2010

(MENAFN) Etihad Airways said that it plans to launch regular flights to Baghdad next week, one of a growing number of carriers betting that Iraq’s fragile security gains will lead to an uptick in travel, Reuters reported.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier plans to start service from its base in the United Arab Emirates capital beginning April 26, provided it can secure government and regulatory approval.

Initial plans call for five return flights a week to Baghdad using Airbus A320s. Additional flights to the northern city of Irbil are slated to start in June.

Etihad will be the first Emirati airline to provide regular passenger service between Iraq and the Emirates with its Abu Dhabi flights. Iraqi Airways and a number of charter companies already fly to the nearby city of Dubai, the Middle East’s busiest air hub.

Etihad Chief Executive James Hogan said the airline expects strong demand, particularly from government and business travelers.

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