(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Emirates on Monday marked the start of flights to Erbil, with an Emirates A340-300, carrying a VIP delegation and media, landed in the capital of northern Iraq.
Erbil is the airline's third gateway into the country after Baghdad and Basra.
Travelling aboard the inaugural flight were Shaikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates senior vice-president of commercial operations, for the Gulf, Middle East and Iran; Hiran Perera, Emirates' senior vice-president of cargo planning and freighters; Abdalla Al Shehi, UAE Ambassador to Iraq; Asmat Siddiqi, Iraq's Ambassador to the UAE; other government officials, prominent members of the business community and representatives from the media.
Aided in recent years by the construction of Erbil International Airport, the city of around 1.3 million people is fast becoming a flourishing business and tourist hub.
"Erbil's free trade zone, similar to the Dubai model, is attracting foreign investment with opportunities across numerous sectors, including construction, property development, oil and gas," Al Mualla said. "This is a good time for us to enter this market and once again Emirates will be a catalyst for trade and tourism."
EK949 departs each Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from Dubai International Airport at 6:45am, arriving in Erbil at 8:45am. The return flight, EK950, departs Erbil at 10:10am and lands in Dubai at 1:50pm. All times are local.