Iraq’s youngest airline, FlyBaghdad, is in talks to start flying to Dubai and plans on launching European routes in early 2016, Mohammad Abdali, the airline’s Regional Commercial Manager, told Gulf News on Tuesday.
FlyBaghdad, owned by Iraqi investors, started domestic flights on July 19, 2015 from its hub at Baghdad International. In Iraq, it flies to Arbil, Sulaymaniyah, Najaf and Basra, and has also started flights to Istanbul in Turkey, Tbilisi in Georgia, and Kuwait and Bahrain, Abdali said on the sidelines of the Middle East & Africa Airfinance Conference in Dubai.
The Iraqi airline is now switching its attention to Dubai International. Abdali said, FlyBaghdad is finalising its schedule and hopes to soon launch daily services to the emirate. The airline will start flights to Iranian cities Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad on October 16, and is also planning on flying to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Abdali said.
FlyBaghdad considers itself a hybrid of a low cost and full service carrier. It only offers economy class but provides meals on all of its flights and will look to add business class on Dubai and European routes, with the latter expected to start next year.
“There are a few European destinations ... There are many Iraqis living abroad,” Abdali said, nominating London, Stockholm and Dusseldorf as potential destinations.
The airline operates with Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jets and two Airbus Group A320 narrow-body planes. It will add a leased Boeing 737 narrow-body plane in November and is in talks to lease another Airbus aircraft, Abdali said.
He added that FlyBaghdad had done “extremely well” in its first two months in August and September, and expects to break even in its first year.
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