Iraq’s airports better connected to MEB3 hubs and Turkey

This month, Iraq became OPEC's second-largest producer, overtaking Iran for the first time since the 1980s. Little wonder that there have been lots of new services by the Middle East Big 3 (MEB3). In May, Qatar Airways’ first Iraqi service, to Erbil, won an anna.aero  Route of the Week .

The last week has seen the launch of two new services to airports in Iraq, with Emirates launching flights from Dubai to Erbil, while its low-cost “partner” flydubai initiated service from Dubai to Basra. Last September, anna.aero noted the growth in commercial air services to and from Iraq and since then there have been a raft of additional services, spread across all of the country’s six airports that offer scheduled services.

Airport WDF WDS New services since September 2011
Baghdad (BGW) 114 16,083 Dubai (Emirates, 13 November 2011, 7 per week)
Dubai (flydubai, 17 January 2012, 7 per week)
Doha (Qatar Airways, 7 June 2012, 4 per week)
Erbil (EBL) 86 11,873 Ankara (Pegasus, 30 October 2011, 3 per week)
Antalya (Turkish Airlines, 19 April 2012, 4 per week)
Doha (Qatar Airways, 23 May 2012, 4 per week)
Amsterdam (Transavia.com, 7 June 2012, 1 per week)
Dubai (Emirates, 12 August 2012, 4 per week)
Najaf (NJF) 45 5,873 Dubai (flydubai, 29 January 2012, 3 per week)
Kuwait (Jazeera Airways, 17 April 2012, 1 per week)
Sulaimaniyah (ISU) 40 4,654 Larnaca (Cyprus Airways, 10 June 2012, 1 per week)
Basra (BSR) 30 4,591 Abu Dhabi (Etihad, 15 April 2012, 4 per week)
Dubai (flydubai, 8 August 2012, 4 per week)
Mosul (OSM) 5 724 Istanbul (Turkish Airlines, 3 November 2011, 3 per week)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 6 August 2012
WDF – Weekly Departing Flights
WDS – Weekly Departing Seats

A full five new services have been launched to Dubai, three by flydubai (to Baghdad, Basra and Najaf) and two by Emirates (to Baghdad and Erbil). Fellow MEB3 carriers Etihad and Qatar Airways have also launched new services (to Basra and Erbil respectively) during the last 12 months.

Turkish Airlines now serves all six Iraqi airports from Istanbul

By starting regular scheduled services to Mosul last November, Turkish Airlines now operates to all six Iraqi airports from Istanbul. By that measure, its nearest rival is flydubai which serves five Iraqi airports from Dubai, followed by Royal Jordanian (four destinations from Amman), and Emirates and Etihad (each with three destinations from Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively).

Gulf Air, which suspended all its flights to Iraq during the unrest in Bahrain last year, will relaunch its four services to Najaf, Baghdad, Erbil and Basra in September and October.

June 11: In an historic move, Mahan Airlines commenced its first services from Iran to Iraq with twice-weekly Teheran-Erbil frequencies. Mahan Airlines’ Marketing Director, Hossein Hosseini (left) tells the TV reporter: “Trade volume between Iran and Iraq has created the right opportunities for introducing direct services.”


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