Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has commenced non-stop flights from its home base in Abu Dhabi to Baghdad, becoming the first airline in the UAE to operate to the Iraqi capital.
VIP passengers on the inaugural flight, which departed from Abu Dhabi Airport at 10.00 am yesterday (April 26) included the His Excellency Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Shehhi, the UAE Ambassador to Iraq, and Dr Abdulelah Al-Jumaili, Cultural Attaché and Mr Ahmed Jaber, Acting Charge d'Affairs, of the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq.
Etihad Airways' Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said: "These new services are an important step for Etihad and for the UAE, reflecting a commitment to strengthening ties in the region.
"We believe demand on the route will build quickly, particularly from government and business travellers. We also expect to see strong interest from people from Iraq connecting through Abu Dhabi to Etihad's extensive global network."
Etihad operates five return services per week to Baghdad, using two-class Airbus A320 aircraft, and will expand its operation with two additional A320 return services to a second Iraq destination – Erbil – from June 1, subject to government and regulatory approvals.
Etihad's flight EY555 to Baghdad departs Abu Dhabi on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10.00am, arriving at Baghdad's international airport at 11.25am the same day. The return flight, EY554, departs Baghdad on the same days at 12.30pm, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 3.50pm.
All times quoted are local times.