Baghdad welcomes debut Emirates flight
Baghdad, November 13, 2011
Dubai national carrier Emirates touched down in Baghdad on Sunday, marking its first flight to the capital city of Iraq. This is the carrier's second Iraqi destination after Basra.
Passengers onboard the flight to Baghdad made good use of Emirates’ extensive network connecting through Dubai from a number of global destinations such as; Australia, England, the US, India, Pakistan and the UAE.
The inaugural flight carried several senior officials including Ahmed Khoory, Emirates’ senior VP Commercial Operations, Gulf, Middle East and Iran along with his special guests Sheikh Juma Al Maktoum, chairman of SJM Group of Companies, Salah Al Ansari, director Visitor Information Bureau, Department of Tourism and Commerce, Saood Kankazar, director Air Transport and International Affairs, Dubai Civil Aviation, Wadee Ayyed, chairman of Al Handal International Group and Mohammed Ayyed, CEO of Al Handal International Group.
On landing, the aircraft was greeted with a water-cannon salute before local Iraqi media attended an official welcoming ceremony and press conference inside the airport terminal.
“Baghdad holds significant potential for Emirates given the city’s mandate to rebuild,” said Khoory speaking to mediapersons.
"As seen from today’s flight Baghdad is an important destination for many of our markets, with a good mix of leisure and trade traffic travelling into the capital from more than a dozen international cities," the official said.
"We have been working closely with the GCAA to make this destination possible for our passengers and it is gratifying to finally be here," Khoory added.
Emirates is operating an Airbus 330 between Dubai and Baghdad, in a three-class configuration. The flight EK941 will depart Dubai at 7.55am and touch down at Baghdad International Airport at 9.40am the same day.
At 11.35am, the return flight EK942 will depart Baghdad and arrive in Dubai at 2:55pm the same day. The service will operate on a Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Baghdad is the second destination that Emirates has launched in Iraq this year, with Basra successfully launching in February.
“We are seeing robust booking levels in both directions for Basra and expect the same level of interest for Baghdad. These markets are high revenue generating making them key destinations for the airline,” he added.
In October, Emirates visited Baghdad for a pre-launch roadshow with a strong turnout from local businesses and key Iraqi Government officials.
The airline currently has a fleet of 162 aircraft and is the largest operator of both the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777. Over the next six months, Emirates will launch a further seven destinations including; Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Dublin, Lusaka, Harare, Seattle and Dallas.-TradeArabia News Service