Emirates has marked its 110th international destination today with its inaugural flight to Basra, the airline's first service into Iraq.
Emirates is the largest international carrier to operate services into Iraq, helping link the country to the rest of the world through its convenient connections in Dubai.
“Iraq is experiencing a surge in growth and it is our goal to help the country prosper and flourish. The potential for this destination is significant and Emirates is committed to working alongside the Iraqi authorities to make Basra a success,” said Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline.
“Our strong forward bookings for Basra indicate the high demand for services to this destination, particularly from the corporate sector as the city rebuilds. Iraq is a key destination for Emirates and we expect our operations to Basra to thrive alongside the city’s growth,” added Clark.
Basra is the first new destination for Emirates in 2011 with Geneva to launch on 1st June, followed by Copenhagen on 1st August.
Flight EK945 departed Dubai at 13:45 hours today with a full load of passengers including; Adel Al Redha, Emirates Executive Vice President Engineering and Operations, Dr. Abdulla Al Hashimi, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President Group Security, Ahmed Khoory, Emirates Senior Vice President Commercial Operations Gulf, Middle East and Iran and Mahmood Abdulraheem, Emirates Vice President Treasury.
On landing in Basra Emirates delegates were met by His Excellency Shaltagh Aboud Al-Mayahi, Governor of Basra, His Excellency, Jabbar Amin Jaber Latif, Head of Basra Council and Abdulameer Ghanim Abdullah, Basra Airport Manager.
During a press conference held at Basra Airport Adel Al Redha thanked the Iraqi authorities for making Emirates’ first flight to Iraq possible.
“Today’s first flight into Basra marks an exciting time for Emirates. Basra has showed itself to be a prosperous city with a determination to succeed. For Emirates, Basra represents not only the growth of our vast network but also an opportunity to help Iraq rebuild and I am honoured to be here today as we touchdown in Iraq for the first time,” said Adel Al Redha.
Emirates will operate both passenger and cargo services to and from Basra with an estimated 130 tonnes of freight per week between Dubai and Basra.
In addition to transporting equipment for oil and petroleum companies Emirates expects to carry a diverse range of goods from all corners of the globe, including perishable foodstuffs, medical products, car parts, garments, textiles and various electronic items such as mobile phones. Goods travelling in the other direction – to the likes of the United States, USA, China, India and the UK - will include petroleum products, grains, wool and dates.
The service will operate four times a week each Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. The flight will be operated by an Airbus A330, in a three class configuration, First Class, Business Class and Economy Class on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and in a two class configuration, Business Class and Economy Class, on Mondays.
EK 945 will depart Dubai at 13:45 hours and touch down at Basra International Airport at 14:45 hours the same day. At 16:15 hours, return flight EK 946 will depart Basra touching down in Dubai at 19:10 hours. The service connects seamlessly with key industry hubs in the US and Europe.