Boeing and Iraqi Airways this week celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner with a special event in Baghdad to welcome the flag-carrier’s first new-technology widebody aircraft in many years.

The Iraqi flag carrier has taken the first of 10 787s on order, to profitably grow its long-haul network and connect Iraq to more international destinations.

Its new 787s come in a dual-class configuration, with 1-2-1 flatbed seating in business class and a nine-abreast configuration in economy.

Iraqi Airways currently connects its Baghdad hub with destinations in Asia-Pacific including Guangzhou, Kuala Lumpur, Delhi and Mumbai. The carrier also operates a sizeable domestic and regional network, as well as a growing number of services to Europe.

The delivery of Iraqi Airways’ first 787 follows the deliveries of four Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft since February.

The airline has ordered a total of six 737 Max 8s and 10 larger 737 Max 10s, providing its single-aisle fleet with more capability across its regional and medium-haul routes.

Iraqi Airways’ fleet renewal programme, however, commenced many years earlier and also included five orders for Airbus A220-300 aircraft, as well as 737-800s from Boeing.

The airline is also one of the last few commercial passenger airlines to operate the 747-400.

“We are proud to be taking delivery of an airplane with the capabilities of the 787 Dreamliner. As domestic and international air traffic gains momentum, it’s crucial that our Iraqi Airways fleet matches growing demand with more efficient, capable and comfortable airplanes,” said Manaf Abdel-Monem, Director General of Iraqi Airways.

“The 787 and 737 MAX airplanes we have received are key to our fleet renewal program which aims to ensure we can fly our passengers around the world in the safety and comfort they expect from a modern and efficient airline like Iraqi Airways.”

Iraqi Airways currently serves more than 50 destinations from Baghdad and is expanding and renewing its fleet to support the anticipated increase in international business and leisure travel to and from the country.

Iraq is seeing increased stability and economic growth, with the country’s annual gross domestic product growth rate expected to reach 7 per cent by the end of 2023. With global air traffic rebounding, Middle Eastern airlines are seeing more than a 40 per cent traffic increase compared to last year.