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Sun 12 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Scottish carrier looks to Iraq

Budget carrier, Air Scotland, hopes to begin services to Baghdad and Arbil as early as November.

Air Scotland is hoping to start flights to the Iraqi capital from Stansted and Glasgow in order to cater towards the demand for flights to the country.

The budget carrier is reported to have applied to the Department for Transport in the UK, asking permission to operate a twice-weekly service to Baghdad, and a weekly flight to Arbil, north of the Iraqi capital. The flights, which would start at Glasgow Airport, would stop off at the Essex airport before continuing on to Iraq, as early as November this year.

“Currently there seems to be no one looking to offer this kind of service, so hopefully we will be the first to set up this type of operation from the UK,” Air Scotland’s chairman, Dhia El-Ani told a local London paper.

“I believe there will be a lot of interest in these flights as there are a quarter of a million Iraqis in the London area alone. As Iraq is my original home it has been a long standing dream for me and when the first flight takes off it will be a great day for me,” El-Ani added.

El-Ani added that if the application for a licence was unsuccessful he would operate the service from Athens in Greece instead.

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