Emirates Airlines announced last week it will begin offering service to Baghdad with four flights a week starting November 13th, 2011.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and CEO of Emirates Airlines, said on June 15th the company decided to offer flights to Baghdad because it is an important destination and only a limited number of airlines serve it.
The decision follows the carrier's launch of service between Basra and Dubai in February.
Al Maktoum said service between Basra and Dubai "has achieved great success since its launch with full flights in both directions since the beginning, which has exceeded expectations".
The company expects to fly businessmen, government officials and workers in the oil, construction and communications fields as well as Iraqi citizens.
Hazem Ali, an economic analyst in Dubai, told Al-Shorfa that expansion of Emirates Airlines flights to Iraq proves that Iraq is moving forward towards security and economic stability.
Ali said the company has taken a bold step to fill the gap in the number of flights to Baghdad, noting the high demand for travel to and from Iraq.
He added, "In light of the surge in projects currently taking place in Iraq, especially in oil, construction and communications, there is no doubt that international investors and companies want to go to Iraq."
Ali pointed to the importance of launching this new service in light of reconstruction efforts in Baghdad. He said the service will prove its effectiveness in the transfer of goods and equipment that are imported from abroad, in addition to flying the thousands of Iraqi emigrants who are beginning to return home.
Fahd Saleh, an employee with the Bunian real estate company in Dubai, said many UAE companies have begun working in Iraq, especially in real estate, tourism and infrastructure since 2007. Emirati investments in Iraq reached $3 billion dollars by the end of 2010.
Samir Murad, an aviation analyst, told Al-Shorfa that Emirates Airlines will contribute to increased trade as the company connects Dubai with 65 countries.
He said, "There is potential for extensive trade in the future, particularly the transfer of equipment for oil and gas fields, in addition to food products, pharmaceuticals, auto parts, clothing, textiles and electronic devices."
Manhal Fadel al-Rawi, director of the legal division at Baghdad International Airport, welcomed the decision by Emirates Airlines to open a route between Dubai and Baghdad.
He said it was "a very important step for Iraq and for commercial transport activity, in particular between Iraq and the different countries of the world, since the airline will adopt the Baghdad airport as a major transport hub to and from countries around the world, not just Dubai."
Al-Rawi said Emirates Airlines confirmed the level of security at Baghdad Airport and the ability for airplanes to take off and land without problems. Airline officials were satisfied with the airport's technical and security mechanisms and noted the rising number of arrivals to the country.
He said that international safety standards have been met at the airport in Baghdad after airport staff received training in other countries.
Moayed Ibrahim Jumaili, director of Sinbad for Travel and Tourism in Baghdad, said they expected great success for the new service.
"Hundreds used to be forced to travel by transiting through Amman then Dubai, or through Sharjah and then to Basra. Iraq now has a new air outlet to the world which will save time and money for citizens and businessmen."
Jumaili said ticket prices will not exceed the price for Dubai-Basra route which are $320 one way.