An international route to Baghdad is scheduled to open in June.

Credit: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will launch a new route to the country’s capital, Baghdad, and service to Erbil, the most populous city in the Kurdistan region, to strengthen connectivity between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iraq sex.

The new direct flight connects Abu Dhabi (AUH) with Baghdad (BGW) and Erbil (EBL) twice a week using the Airbus A320. Baghdad began operations on June 22 and Erbil on September 15. LCC will be the only carrier serving each flight segment. This is also the airline’s first scheduled flight to Iraq.

In the past, Abu Dhabi flew direct to both destinations, but currently there are no flights between Abu Dhabi and Iraq. However, Air Arabia, Abu Dhabi’s sister airline, flies from Sharjah (SHJ) to Baghdad, Erbil and Najaf (NJF).

Air Arabia chief executive Adel Al Ali said the expansion in Abu Dhabi “reinforces our commitment to leisure and business travellers” and will boost inbound tourism to the UAE.

Data provided by OAG Schedules Analyzer shows that Etihad Airways was serving BGW and EBL until March 2015 and was flying to Basra (BSR) until March 2016. Since then, however, Iraq has not been featured on the airline’s network.

Iraqi Airways is also operating a weekly Abu Dhabi-Baghdad route between July and December 2021.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi began operations in July 2020 and currently serves 31 destinations in Abu Dhabi.

A total of 16 routes are currently operating between the UAE and Iraq, 13 of which originate from Dubai International Airport (DXB). Flydubai has a 34 percent market capacity share, Air Arabia 23.2 percent and Emirates 20.2 percent. Iraqi Airways and Fly Baghdad Airlines also offer UAE-Iraq routes, with 14.1% and 8.5% market shares respectively.

david casey

David Casey is Editor-in-Chief of Routes, the trusted source of news and information for the global route development community.