(MENAFN - Arab News) Emirates will launch a new passenger destination in Iraq this August with the commencement of flights to Erbil, its third Iraqi destination after Basra and Baghdad.
Starting from August 12, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, will be the carrier's 17th passenger destination in the Middle East.
The new service between Dubai and Erbil will initially operate four times a week, increasing to a daily service from 1st September 2012. Emirates will fly its Airbus 340-300 on the route, offering 267 seats in a three-class configuration and more than 13 tons of cargo capacity.
"Since we first launched flights into Iraq we have seen demand for our services there increase tenfold," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group.
"Emirates has been offering a well-utilized cargo service to Erbil since February 2011 and we are confident that our new passenger service will be filled in both directions. Iraq offers great potential for growth and we look forward to the launch of our third destination there this August."
Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates, has been operating a freighter out of Erbil since February 2011.
Meeting the strong demand for transporting machinery and parts for the oil and gas industry, it connects Erbil and points throughout its network with three scheduled freighters a week, operated by Boeing 777Fs, which have a capacity of 103 tons.
The passenger flight, which is able to carry 13 tons in the belly hold, will increase the weekly capacity from Erbil to more than 400 tons.
Emirates currently operates a daily flight to Baghdad and four weekly flights to Basra.
The airline has dedicated sales offices in both Iraqi cities.
Erbil will be Emirates' 11th new route to launch in 2012.