The FINANCIAL — Baghdad will be Emirates’ 103rd international destination and one of six new destinations to be launched by the airline this year including; Tokyo – which began on 28th March, Amsterdam, Prague, Madrid and Dakar.
Iraq is the last remaining Middle Eastern destination to be frequented by Emirates. The carrier’s current number of weekly Middle Eastern flights totals 197, across 10 countries.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates airline & Group, said: “The launch of services to Baghdad highlights our steadfast commitment to connecting the Arab world with the rest of the globe. As the last remaining Middle Eastern country to receive our services I am delighted that we have now come full circle.”
Sheikh Ahmed added: “Iraq is well on the road to recovery and we are confident that the time is right to commence our operations there. There is a high proportion of traffic heading both in and out of Iraq and we are in the right position to capitalise on this demand. 2010 is set to be a strong year for Emirates and with a steady stream of new aircraft and six new destinations on the map we continue to defy industry expectations.”
"Initially Emirates will operate a thrice weekly service on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The route will be serviced by an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, offering a three-class configuration of 12 First Class, 42 Business Class and 183 Economy Class seats," Emirates informs.
Emirates expects the passenger mix travelling in and out of Iraq to come from a variety of sources, with a significant skew towards industry and Government personnel. The construction, telecommunications and oil sectors are expected to make up three of the largest industry segments.
Iraqi nationals, both in Baghdad and residing outside of Iraq are also expected to be strong users of this new service. The new service out of Baghdad will provide travellers in the capital with good onward connections to many of Emirates’ global destinations including the GCC, Levant and the UK via Dubai.
Emirates expects to uplift around 10-12 tonnes of cargo per flight, using the belly hold capacity on the wide-bodied passenger aircraft.
Ram Menen, Emirates' Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo, said: "We will be importing various commodities into Iraq as the country continues its reconstruction – ranging from perishable foodstuffs and garments to electronics and oil well equipment – from all corners of the world. Our vast network and short connection times mean we are able to serve Iraq with the efficiency our customers in other markets have come to expect from Emirates.”
With a flight time of less than three hours, EK 941 will depart Dubai on Thursday’s and Saturday’s at 07:00 hours and arrive in Baghdad at 08:30 hours. From Baghdad EK 942 departs at 10:30 hours arriving in Dubai at 13:55 hours. On Tuesday’s EK 941 will depart Dubai at 08:05 hours and arrive in Baghdad at 09:35 hours. From Baghdad EK 942 will depart at 11:35 hours touching down in Dubai at 15:00 hours.