Emirates to restart Dubai-Baghdad flights after gunfire incident

DUBAI // Emirates Airline has announced it will restart flights to Baghdad on March 1.

The Dubai carrier joins budget airline FlyDubai, which resumed flights to the Iraqi capital on Sunday, in reopening the route.

However, Etihad is yet to return to its schedule, with their flights still suspended.

All flights from UAE-based airlines were ordered to stop on January 26 after a FlyDubai jet carrying 154 passengers came under small arms fire as it landed at Baghdad International Airport.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident.

The aircraft sustained damage to its fuselage and resulted in the General Aviation Authority (GCAA) banning flights pending a review of safety and security.

“The return of services between Dubai and Baghdad follows a comprehensive safety and security review in conjunction with the GCAA,” said Majid Al Mualla, divisional senior vice president of commercial operations at Emirates.

“Our flights to Baghdad have provided essential economic links for the capital and it is good news for our customers that we can now restart operations.”

Emirates said that it will return to its normal schedule of six weekly flights to Baghdad, which will be served by A330-200 aircraft in a 3-class configuration.

The airline said Baghdad has been one of its destinations since 2011 and flights to Erbil and Basra were unaffected by the incident.

A spokesman for FlyDubai told The National that the airline had reopened flights on Sunday after getting approval from the GCAA.

“On 12 February the GCAA issued a directive to all UAE national carriers lifting the suspension of flights to Baghdad and we resumed our daily service to Baghdad on 22 February,” said the spokesman.

An Etihad spokesman said: “Etihad Airways’ Baghdad service remains suspended.”

Air Arabia resumed its flights from Sharjah to Baghdad last week.



Nadeem Hanif

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