By Andy Sambidge
Dubai carrier says services to Iraqi capital delayed for 'operational reasons'.
Emirates Airline said on Tuesday it has been forced to postpone the launch of flights to Baghdad, which were scheduled to start on July 1.
The Dubai carrier cited "operational reasons" for the delay, adding that it hoped to begin services to the Iraqi capital later this year.
“Due to operational reasons, Emirates has temporarily postponed the July 1 Baghdad route launch until later in the year," a spokesperson said in a statement without giving further details.
“Emirates will liaise with affected passengers to ensure alternative travel arrangements are made well in advance and looks forward to announcing confirmed operations to Baghdad in the near future.”
Baghdad was to have been Emirates’ 103rd international destination and one of six new destinations to be launched by the airline this year including Tokyo, Amsterdam, Prague, Madrid and Dakar.
Iraq is the last remaining Middle Eastern destination to be frequented by Emirates.
The carrier’s current number of weekly Middle Eastern flights totals 197, across 10 countries.
Speaking last month, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline & Group, said: “Iraq is well on the road to recovery and we are confident that the time is right to commence our operations there.”
Issues with BIAP security, EK war risk insurance and ICAA permits including security scanning of on board bags and computerized booking that will allow UAE authorities to receive an advanced notice to conduct background security checks on arriving passengers to the UAE are still a major issue for EK. Good move on part of EK to delay the launch of DXB / BGW / DXB rout.