(MENAFN - Arab News) Qatar Airways has introduced its latest gateway in Iraq with the launch of scheduled flights to the central city of Najaf.
Following its move into Iraq six months ago with the start of flights to both the capital Baghdad and Erbil, the Doha-based airline has inaugurated new services to its third city in the country.
On the back of passenger demand to Iraq, Qatar Airways viewed expansion as being vital, fueled by the country's reconstruction drive.
The arrival of Qatar Airways' flight QR 742 at Al Najaf International Airport was welcomed by a traditional water salute followed by a reception presided by local officials.
Fathi Al-Shehab, Qatar Airways Senior Vice President GCC, Levant, Iran and Indian subcontinent, led an official delegation on the flight from the airline's head office in Doha.
With three Iraqi routes now in its stable, Qatar Airways takes its frequency across Baghdad, Erbil and Najaf up 50 percent to 12 services each week.
Najaf, to be operated four-times-a-week, becomes destination number 124 in the airline's global network spanning cities across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker said: "With our new Najaf services, we are giving the people of Iraq more choice and greater travel options to fly around the world after years of restricted access to air services. Similarly, with all the reconstruction efforts well underway in Iraq, there is a need for flights to bring in construction workers."
Addressing guests gathered at Al-Najaf International Airport, Fathi Al-Shehab said: "On behalf of Qatar Airways, I would like to thank the government of Iraq, local authorities and airport officials for supporting Qatar Airways' expansion with the addition of an integral route to our international network."
The Doha-Najaf route is being operated by a state-of-the-art Airbus A320 featuring 144 seats in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 in Economy.