Etihad Airways is to commence flights from its hub in Abu Dhabi to Baghdad on 26 April 26, and will become the first airline in the UAE to fly to Iraq.
Subject to government and regulatory approvals, Etihad will operate five return services per week to Baghdad, operated by two-class Airbus A320 aircraft, and will expand its operation with two additional A320 return services to a second Iraq destination – Erbil – from 1 June.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways Chief Executive, said: “We are committed to building and strengthening ties in our region and we are pleased that Etihad will be the first airline in the UAE to fly to Iraq.
“We expect to see strong demand on these routes, particularly from government and business travellers, as well as people from Iraq visiting family and friends around the world.
“We launched a cargo operation to Baghdad in September 2009, and have recently commenced additional cargo flights to Erbil, which we expect will perform well for Etihad.”
Mr Hogan said the timing of the new services offered air travellers convenient onward connections via Abu Dhabi to a number of key destinations across the airline’s global network, including the GCC and Middle East, Australia, China, Europe, Japan, North America and the Philippines.
“We are grateful to the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and the Iraq Civil Aviation Authority for their support, which has enabled us to move forward with these important new services.”
Etihad was voted “World’s Leading Airline” at the 2009 World Travel Awards, and has been nominated for ten awards at next months World Travel Awards Middle East Ceremony in Dubai, where it is up for ten awards, including “Middle East’s Leading Airline” and “Middle East’s Leading Business Airline”.