Emirates celebrates Erbil flight launch
Dubai, September 17, 2012
Dubai's national carrier Emirates on Monday celebrated the launch of its flights to Iraqi Kurdistan capital Erbil, its third gateway in Iraq after Basra and Baghdad.
An Emirates’ A340-300, carrying a VIP delegation comprising Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates’ senior VP, commercial operations, Gulf, Middle East & Iran; Hiran Perera, senior VP, cargo planning and freighters, Abdalla Al Shehi, UAE envoy to Iraq; Asmat Siddiqi, Iraq’s ambassador to the UAE and the media, landed in Erbil.
The inaugural flight to 'one of the oldest cities on earth' comes following the operational start of services last month, said a statement from Emirates.
The flight EK949 departs on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from Dubai International Airport at 6.45am, and arrives in Erbil at 8.45am. On return, EK950 departs Erbil at 10.10am and lands in Dubai at 1.50pm.
Emirates currently operates a daily flight to Baghdad and four weekly flights to Basra.
Erbil is said to be the world’s oldest continually inhabited settlement, established, some believe, almost 6,000 years ago.
Aided in recent years by the construction of Erbil International Airport, the city of around 1.3 million people is fast becoming a flourishing business and tourist hub.
“Erbil’s free trade zone, similar to the Dubai model, is attracting foreign investment with opportunities across numerous sectors, including construction, property development, oil and gas,” said Al Mualla. “This is a good time for us to enter this market and once again Emirates will be a catalyst for trade and tourism,” he added.
One of Erbil’s most notable attractions is the mysterious Citadel or Qala’t Erbil, containing a collection of bazaars, an ancient bathhouse and a labyrinth of narrow alleyways. Other sites of interest include the Bradost Mountains, the Sami Abdul Rahaman Park and the Shar Garden Square with its cooling fountains, trendy cafes and charming teashops.
Emirates SkyCargo, the air freight division of Emirates, has been operating freighters out of Erbil since February 2011.-TradeArabia News Service