Bmi keen to start Baghdad services

30 Apr 2009 by BusinessTraveller

Bmi says it is “willing and ideally placed” to re-establish air links between London and Iraq’s capital Baghdad, and has met with senior officials within the Iraq government to discuss the possibility.

The carrier’s CEO Nigel Turner recently attended a conference in London to discuss investment in Iraq, and said that “the ability to travel by air between Heathrow and Baghdad is vital in supporting the considerable energy that is going into bringing business ties and investment back to normality”.

Bmi currently serves several destinations in the Middle East including Amman, Beirut, Jeddah and Riyadh, and Turner said it made “geographical and economic sense for us to add Iraq to our growing network of services to the region”.

“Iraq is surrounded on four sides by countries that we already serve from Heathrow,” said Turner. “We are carrying an ever increasing number of passengers who, at the moment, travel from Baghdad to Heathrow via our existing intermediate point of Amman. As trade and business ties grow we envisage that these numbers will grow.

“As the situation returns to normality we are seeing a small number of scheduled services from Baghdad being launched within the region. At the moment we are unable to commence services to Heathrow until the UK Government permits UK aircraft or British registered carriers to fly in and out of Iraq. Nevertheless, I have told Iraqi officials and business that subject to the required levels of operational integrity and safety being satisfactorily achieved and appropriate governmental approval, bmi is ready and willing to once again re-establish air links between Heathrow and Baghdad.”

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Report by Mark Caswell

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