With the 13th November launch just around the corner, Emirates held a gala dinner in Baghdad last night, giving the city a glimpse of the airline’s award-winning hospitality. His Excellency Dr. Ali Al Allaq, Secretary General of Iraq’s Cabinet, His Excellency Mohammed Emran, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kurdistan Territory, His Excellency Abdulla Ibrahim Al Shehi, UAE Ambassador to Iraq, Salar Al Amin Vice Chairman, Investment Authority and Captain Saad Al Khafaji Director General Iraqi Airways, were among the 300 guests in attendance which included representatives from the local business community, key Government officials and members of the local Iraqi media. Held at the Sheraton Hotel, guests were treated to food, music and entertainment during the course of the evening, as well as a presentation from the carrier’s senior executives.“Baghdad has been on our wish list for some time and we are now ready for our launch on the 13th November,” said Ahmed Khoory, Emirates Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Gulf, Middle East and Iran.“The excellent turnout at this evening’s reception is indicative of how positively Emirates is perceived in the local market. With much of the country’s manufacturing, finance and commerce concentrated in and around Baghdad, our new service will play a central role in linking the city with the broader business community.” The launch of Baghdad will be Emirates’ second gateway into Iraq after Basra, which started in February this year.“Basra has been a very successful first foray into Iraq for Emirates. Our passenger loads have been consistently strong and we are confident that these positive booking numbers will also be reflected in our forthcoming Baghdad operation,” added Khoory.Emirates will operate an Airbus 330 between Dubai and Baghdad, in a three-class configuration. EK941 will depart Dubai at 07:55am touching down at Baghdad International Airport at 09:40am the same day. At 11:35am, return flight EK942 will depart Baghdad arriving in Dubai at 14:55pm the same day. The service will operate on a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.The airline currently has 114 international destinations and a fleet of 157 aircraft. Over the next six months, Emirates will launch a further nine destinations including; St. Petersburg, Baghdad, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Dublin, Lusaka, Harare, Seattle and Dallas.