By John Lee.

On May 21, the Government of Iraq extended the suspension on scheduled flights to and from Iraq until 8:00 p.m. on May 31.

Qatar Airways is offering a special flight from Baghdad on May 26.  This flight is not organized by the Embassy.

(Source: U.S. Embassy Baghdad)

Qatar Airways, Emirates and several other Persian Gulf airlines still fly in Iranian and Iraqi airspace and to cities in both countries since Iran and the United States traded military strikes.

Iranian airspace is important for all carriers in this region,” said Adil al-Ghaith, Emirates’ senior vice president, commercial operations, Persian Gulf, Middle East and Iran, Reuters reported.

Dubai-based Emirates and sister carrier flyDubai together serve 10 cities in Iran and Iraq, and have continued to use the airspace of both countries for other flights.

Kuwait Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways have also continued using Iranian and Iraqi airspace.

We will continue to fly to Iran because Iran is an important country to us and it is our neighbor and we want to serve the people of Iran,” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker said on the sidelines of a Kuwait air show.

However, some regional carriers have changed their routes. Bahrain’s Gulf Air has redirected European flights away from Iraqi airspace and now flies longer, more fuel consuming routes over Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

We want to take the safest option even if it costs us a little bit more for a period of time. We can live with that,” Deputy Chief Executive Waleed Abdulhameed al-Alawi said.

The UAE regulator told its carriers — Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia AIRA.DU — this month to “evaluate flight path risks” although it said it was up to the airlines to make the final decision on the routes they chose.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Qatar Airways has has announced that it will double the frequency of flights to Basra and Najaf.

There will be eight flights per week to Basra from 16th May, and 8 per week to Najaf from 2nd June.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said:

“Qatar Airways is committed to developing access to a number of destinations within our network which are popular with both our business and leisure travellers.”

(Source: Qatar Airways)

By John Lee.

A new privately-owned Iraqi airline carrier is expected to start international flights by July.

Deputy Transport Minister Bangen Rekani told Bloomberg that FlyBaghdad, owned by Iraqi investors, will operate two Airbus Group NV A320 narrow-body planes and a Bombardier Inc. CRJ-200 regional jet. Start-up costs of are estimated at $25 million to $30 million (30-36 billion Iraqi dinars), and the airline is expected to make a profit in its first year.

Airlines including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways have suspended flights to cities such as Baghdad and Erbil due to security concerns.

Local carriers are making up for the gap left by the international ones,” the Deputy Minister added. “Travel in Iraq depends on security — if the situation improves the number of passengers will increase significantly.

Iraqi Airways currently operates a fleet of about 30 aircraft. The country’s six airports are also served by four other small privately-owned carriers: Al Naser Airlines, ZagrosJet, Bawabat Al Iraq, and Al Burhan Airways.

Iraq is also studying the feasibility of setting up a low-cost airline and experts from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) are assessing the market, the Rekani said.

(Source: Bloomberg)

By John Lee.

A new privately-owned Iraqi airline carrier is expected to start international flights by July.

Deputy Transport Minister Bangen Rekani told Bloomberg that FlyBaghdad, owned by Iraqi investors, will operate two Airbus Group NV A320 narrow-body planes and a Bombardier Inc. CRJ-200 regional jet. Start-up costs of are estimated at $25 million to $30 million (30-36 billion Iraqi dinars), and the airline is expected to make a profit in its first year.

Airlines including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways have suspended flights to cities such as Baghdad and Erbil due to security concerns.

Local carriers are making up for the gap left by the international ones,” the Deputy Minister added. “Travel in Iraq depends on security — if the situation improves the number of passengers will increase significantly.

Iraqi Airways currently operates a fleet of about 30 aircraft. The country’s six airports are also served by four other small privately-owned carriers: Al Naser Airlines, ZagrosJet, Bawabat Al Iraq, and Al Burhan Airways.

Iraq is also studying the feasibility of setting up a low-cost airline and experts from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) are assessing the market, the Rekani said.

(Source: Bloomberg)

By John Lee.

A new privately-owned Iraqi airline carrier is expected to start international flights by July.

Deputy Transport Minister Bangen Rekani told Bloomberg that FlyBaghdad, owned by Iraqi investors, will operate two Airbus Group NV A320 narrow-body planes and a Bombardier Inc. CRJ-200 regional jet. Start-up costs of are estimated at $25 million to $30 million (30-36 billion Iraqi dinars), and the airline is expected to make a profit in its first year.

Airlines including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways have suspended flights to cities such as Baghdad and Erbil due to security concerns.

Local carriers are making up for the gap left by the international ones,” the Deputy Minister added. “Travel in Iraq depends on security — if the situation improves the number of passengers will increase significantly.

Iraqi Airways currently operates a fleet of about 30 aircraft. The country’s six airports are also served by four other small privately-owned carriers: Al Naser Airlines, ZagrosJet, Bawabat Al Iraq, and Al Burhan Airways.

Iraq is also studying the feasibility of setting up a low-cost airline and experts from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) are assessing the market, the Rekani said.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Qatar Airways launched flights on Wednesday to its fifth destination in the Republic of Iraq, Sulaymaniyah, increasing the airline’s frequency across Iraq from 16 to 20 flights each week.

The new services, which will operate four-times-a-week non-stop from the airline’s Doha hub, brings the carrier’s global network to 129 destinations worldwide.

The Doha – Sulaymaniyah route is being operated by a state-of-the-art Airbus A320 featuring 144 seats in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy.

Selected aircraft feature seatback TV screens, providing passengers with the next generation interactive on board entertainment system, featuring a choice of more than 800 audio and video on-demand options, together with an SMS text messaging service from each seat.

The launch marks the rapid expansion by Qatar Airways in Iraq since the middle of 2012 when it began flights to Erbil, followed by the capital Baghdad, Najaf and Basra. Sulaymaniyah also marks the carrier’s fifth new Middle Eastern destination launched this year after Basra, Najaf, Gassim in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Salalah in Oman.

The arrival of Qatar Airways’ flight QR438 was welcomed with a water salute at Sulaymaniyah International Airport and a warm reception presided by local officials. Fathi Al Shehab, Qatar Airways Senior Vice President GCC, Levant, Iran and Indian Subcontinent, led an official delegation on the flight from Doha and was welcomed at the airport by Director General Sulaymaniyah International Airport Eng.Tahir Qadir.