By Staff writer
Dubai-based airline announces that it will halt services to capital of Iraqi Kurdistan from August 12
Emirates Airline has announced that it will suspend flights to Erbil in Iraq after militants from Iraqi Kurdistan seized more territory in northern Iraq.
Emirates said on its website that it will halt flights to Erbil from August 12 for "operational reasons".
"We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers. Emirates will continue to operate its daily, non-stop flights between Dubai and Basra and four times weekly service to Baghdad," the carrier said, without giving further details.
Last month, Emirates said it will avoid Iraqi airspace, as the government in Baghdad struggles to contain Islamic insurgents who have captured vast areas of the country.
After Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down earlier this month by a ground-to-air-missile in eastern Ukraine, airlines around the world have been rethinking flight routes to avoid airspace over countries facing conflicts.
Jihadists recently seized territory that had long been held by Iraqs Kurds, overpowering Kurdish peshmerga security forces. The militants seized the town of Sinjar and a number of oilfields in the surrounding region.
Emirates said customers are advised to contact their travel agent or Emirates Call Centres for rebooking options.
Erbil and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region has been something of a safe haven within Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion and subsequent occupation
It has attracted significantly more investment than other parts of Iraq and not experienced the destructive fighting and terrorism that plagued the capital Baghdad and other cities.