Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), this week celebrates its very successful first year of operations in Iraq.
Etihad, the first airline in the UAE to fly to Baghdad, commenced services from Abu Dhabi to the Iraqi capital in April 2010 and two months later commenced operations to Erbil, its second destination in the country.
Today, Etihad Airways operates daily return service to Baghdad, operated by two-class Airbus A320 aircraft, with a seat factor exceeding 70 per cent. The twice weekly service to Erbil operated by Airbus A320 aircraft has also shown steady growth.
James Hogan, Etihad Chief Executive Officer, said: "The positive response to our services to Iraq has exceeded expectations and is testament to the strong growth in relations between our two countries. We are committed to building strong and sustainable ties in this region and look forward to seeing continued strong demand on our services, particularly from government and business travellers, as well as people from Iraq visiting family and friends around the world."
The timing of the services from Iraq offers air travellers convenient onward connections via Abu Dhabi to a number of key destinations across the airline's global network, including the GCC, the Far East and European destinations.
Etihad Airways launched cargo operations to Iraq in September 2009. Today, these operations are performing particularly well. Etihad Crystal Cargo has increased capacity on its freighter services to the country including upgrading two of its three weekly services to Erbil to Airbus A330 aircraft, with the third service operated by an Airbus A300 aircraft.