The Dubai-based carrier will launch its first service to Iraq in February next year, but the launch route will be to Basra rather than the previously planned Baghdad.
Emirates had announced back in May this year that it would serve the Iraqi capital of Baghdad from July (see online news May 10), but the launch was subsequently postponed until further notice, for “operational reasons” (see online news June 21).
Instead Emirates will now launch services to Iraq’s port city of Basra close to the border with Kuwait. The flights are set to commence on February 2, 2011, with a four-times weekly service on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday (operated by three-class Airbus A330 aircraft), and Monday (in a two-class configuration).
Flight EK945 will depart Dubai at 1345, arriving in Basra at 1445, with the return leg EK946 leaving Iraq at 1615 and landing back in Dubai at 1910. Emirates says the service “connects seamlessly with key industry hubs in the US and Europe”.
Announcing the new route His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group said:
“Basra is a significant market for Emirates. The city’s recent growth has paved the way for numerous multinational companies and industries to invest in infrastructure and we have seen strong potential from a number of our markets.
“Since the 2009 oil field bid, traffic from the US and Europe into Basra has increased significantly and we are ready to capitalise on this growth.”
For more information visit emirates.com.
Report by Mark Caswell