The continued recovery of the Iraqi tourism industry has been boosted by the launch of a new service to Basra by Emirates Airline.
The destination is the first in the county by the leading Middle Eastern carrier and the airline’s 110th international destination overall.
“Iraq is experiencing a surge in growth and it is our goal to help the country prosper and flourish,” said Tim Clark, president Emirates Airline.
“The potential for this destination is significant and Emirates is committed to working alongside the Iraqi authorities to make Basra a success.”
Emirates will be the largest international carrier to operate services into Iraq, helping link the country to the rest of the world through its convenient connections in Dubai.
“Our strong forward bookings for Basra indicate the high demand for services to this destination, particularly from the corporate sector as the city rebuilds,” continued Clark.
“Iraq is a key destination for Emirates and we expect our operations to Basra to thrive alongside the city’s growth.”
Basra is the first new destination for Emirates in 2011 with Geneva to launch on June 1st, followed by Copenhagen on August 1st.
The inaugural Emirates flight to Basra landed earlier today.
On landing in Basra Emirates delegates were met by his excellency Shaltagh Aboud Al-Mayahi, governor of Basra, his excellency Jabbar Amin Jaber Latif, head of Basra council and Abdulameer Ghanim Abdullah, Basra Airport manager.
During a press conference held at Basra Airport Adel Al Redha, Emirates executive vice president – engineering and operations, thanked the Iraqi authorities for making Emirates’ first flight to Iraq possible.
“Today’s first flight into Basra marks an exciting time for Emirates,” he explained.
“Basra has showed itself to be a prosperous city with a determination to succeed.
“For Emirates, Basra represents not only the growth of our vast network but also an opportunity to help Iraq rebuild and I am honoured to be here today as we touchdown in Iraq for the first time,” he added.
Emirates will operate both passenger and cargo services to and from Basra with an estimated 130 tonnes of freight per week between Dubai and Basra.
The service will operate four times a week each Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The flight will be operated by an Airbus A330, in a three class configuration, First Class, Business Class and Economy Class on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and in a two class configuration, Business Class and Economy Class, on Mondays.
Emirates was recognised by the World Travel Awards for the Awards Middle East’s Leading Airline Rewards Program.