flydubai, Dubai's pioneering low cost airline, added to its expanding network yesterday with the start of flights to Baghdad.
flydubai’s inaugural flight, FZ215, took off from Dubai Terminal 2 at 1355hrs yesterday, landing at Baghdad International Airport at 1545hrs. In addition to Erbil and Sulaimaniyah, the four-times weekly flight to Baghdad increases flydubai’s presence in Iraq to three cities. Flights to Najaf, flydubai’s fourth Iraqi point, will start on Sunday January 29.
flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said:
“I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to the Iraqi authorities. Thanks to their strong support, flydubai now serves three major cities in Iraq, with another, Najaf, to follow later this month. Our new route will provide travellers between Baghdad and Dubai a quality, affordable option that will help to boost business and trade, and reinforce existing ties between the two countries.”
Industry analyst Saj Ahmed commented:
"As the fastest growing low cost airline in the world, flydubai is augmenting its growth direct to the heart of Iraq through services to Baghdad. Coupled with soon-to-commence services to the holy city of Najaf, serving the Iraqi capital ensures greater Iraqi-UAE business and trade links and the added incentive for customers to use low cost carriers will further stimulate leisure as well as corporate travel demand. This is a great coup for flydubai as they continue their unmatched expansion and we're going to see them continue to increase flights and frequencies to the country, despite the recent political duress seen in Iraq."
According to Iraqi Government figures, UAE and Iraq trade is currently worth US$6.5 billion, up from US$5 billion in 2009 and predicted to rise to US$7 billion in 2012. The commercial exchange between the UAE and Iraq includes all industrial, agricultural, food and service products, with around 24 Emirati companies currently operating in Iraq in the investment, housing and food processing sectors.
The Iraqi capital city Baghdad has undergone major reconstruction in recent years and is developing key industries such as energy, construction, retail and agriculture with the help of foreign investment and expertise. As a consequence, business travel is expected to be the main revenue generator for flydubai’s new Baghdad route.