DHAKA: Emirates Airlines will launch a new passenger destination in Iraq this August with the commencement of flights to Erbil, its third Iraqi destination after Basra and Baghdad.
Starting from August 12, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan will be the carrier’s 17th passenger destination in the Middle East.
The new service between Emirates’ hub in Dubai and Erbil will initially operate four times a week, increasing to a daily service from 1st September 2012.
Emirates will fly its Airbus 340-300 on the route, offering 267 seats in a three-class configuration and more than 13 tones of cargo capacity.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group said, “Since we first launched flights into Iraq we have seen demand for our services there increase tenfold.”
Known to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Erbil has a population of approximately five million people and is the fourth largest city in Iraq.
The Iraqi Kurdistan region has the sixth largest oil reserve globally with many of the world’s large oil multinationals availing of offices there.
The region is booming with new, large-scale construction projects including a 1.6 billion US-dollar media centre considered to be one of the principal projects currently in development.
Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates, has been operating a freighter out of Erbil since February 2011.
Meeting the strong demand for transporting machinery and parts for the oil and gas industry, it connects Erbil and points throughout its network with three scheduled freighters a week, operated by Boeing 777Fs, which have a capacity of 103 tonnes.
The passenger flight, which is able to carry 13 tonnes in the belly hold, will increase the weekly capacity from Erbil to more than 400 tonnes.
Emirates currently operates a daily flight to Baghdad and four weekly flights to Basra. The airline has dedicated sales offices in both Iraqi cities.
BDST: 1950 HRS, JUN 21, 2012
Edited by: M. Mahbub Alam, Asst Output Editor
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