Erbil International Airport growing by 50% in 2012; Mahan Air, Qatar Airways and new this year

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.”

Erbil International Airport serves the city of Erbil, in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region in Northern Iraq. Since opening a new terminal in September 2010 the airport has seen rapid growth in passenger numbers. Traffic was up 22% in 2010 and in 2011 demand was up 37% to just over 620,000 passengers. Last week saw Qatar Airways launch a four-times weekly service to Doha making it the airport’s 13th carrier to offer scheduled services and bringing to 25 the number of destinations served non-stop from the airport. The last week has seen the launch of new weekly flights to Amsterdam with and twice-weekly flights to Tehran with Mahan Air. In the first four months of 2012 passenger numbers are up 52% with April setting a new record of 84,275 departing and arriving passengers.

Three new airlines already in 2012

Since the beginning of 2010 Erbil has seen the arrival of several high-profile foreign carriers including Etihad, flydubai, Mahan Air and Qatar Airways from the Middle East; airberlin, Germania, Lufthansa, Pegasus, and Turkish Airlines from Europe.

Launch date Airline Destination (Code) WF (Aircraft)
6 February 2010 airberlin Düsseldorf (DUS) 1 (B738)
6 February 2010 airberlin Munich (MUC) 1 (B738)
25 April 2010 Lufthansa Frankfurt (FRA) 4 (A319)
1 June 2010 Etihad Abu Dhabi (AUH) 2 (A320)
16 July 2010 flydubai Dubai (DXB) 2 (B738)
1 December 2010 Germania Munich (MUC) 1 (B73G)
14 April 2011 Turkish Airlines Istanbul Ataturk (IST) 2 (B738)
4 July 2011 Cyprus Airways Larnaca (LCA) 1 (A320)
29 August 2011 Egyptair Cairo (CAI) 3 (A320)
30 October 2011 Pegasus Ankara (ESB) 3 (B738)
23 May 2012 Qatar Airways Doha (DOH) 4 (A320)
7 June 2012 Amsterdam (AMS) 1 (B738)
11 June 2012 Mahan Airlines Tehran (IKA) 2 (A310)
Source: New Route Database
WF: Weekly Frequency

Despite all these foreign carriers and their routes the airport’s biggest carrier remains Iraqi Airways which offers domestic flights to Baghdad, Basra and Sulamaniyah and international services to Amman (Jordan), Beirut (Lebanon), Dubai (UAE), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and Istanbul (Turkey).

Elegant Erbil: The UK’s Scott Wilson (now part of URS) designed the new airport which was then readied for opening under management contract by Seoul/Incheon Airport.


  1. Mario Rehulka says:

    Dear Sirs,
    you have forgotten in your Erbil Report the flights of Austrian Airlines from Vienna to Erbil – they were one of the first airlines approaching this area.

    Kind regards from Vienna

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