The new routes bring flydubai's network to 48 destinations across 27 countries in the GCC, Middle East, Africa, Indian Sub-Continent, Asia and the fringes of Europe.
flydubai launched services to Iraq in 2010, serving Erbil and Sulaimaniyah, providing a huge impetus to travel between UAE and Iraq, while promoting trade ties between the two countries. The new routes mean flydubai now offers 14 flights a week to Iraq.
Flights to the two destinations will start in the New Year, allowing travellers from the UAE to take advantage of low-cost fares to two of Iraq's commercial hubs. The four-times weekly flights to Baghdad will begin on 17 January 2012, with the three times a week service to Najaf commencing on 29 January 2012.
flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said: "The UAE is currently one of Iraq's top trading partners with non-oil trade between the two countries growing 32.6% to AED 26.4 billion, compared to 2008*. Our flights to Erbil and Sulaimaniyah encouraged business travel and we aim to mirror that success by connecting two of Iraq's main commercial and business centres to the UAE. In addition to cultural authenticity, Iraq has a wealth of investment opportunities across sectors such as oil and gas, agriculture and we hope the routes will stimulate UAE-based and international business to explore these opportunities."
The main demand generator for the two routes is expected to be business traffic, reflecting Iraq's social and economic resurgence. In parallel to reconstruction work, Iraq has identified and developed key industries such as energy, construction, retail and agriculture with the help of foreign investment and expertise. In addition to business interests, there are also many sites of historical and religious significance.
The capital of Iraq, Baghdad is the country's largest city, the second largest city in the Arab World (after Cairo in Egypt), and the second largest in Western Asia (after Tehran, Iran). Major attractions include the National Museum of Iraq, with an impressive collection of ancient manuscripts and historical relics, while the Abbasid Palace is one of the oldest in the region, steeped with rich historical heritage that attracts thousands of travelers every year.
Flights to Baghdad will operate four times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 17 January 2012. FZ215 is scheduled to depart Dubai Terminal 2 at 1355hrs, landing in Baghdad International Airport at 1545hrs local time. The return flight, FZ216, departs at 1645hrs, arriving in Dubai at 2005hrs. One way fares from Dubai to Baghdad start at AED 1,230, with fares from Baghdad to Dubai starting at $315.
Flights to Najaf, meanwhile, will operate three times a week on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 29 January 2012. FZ221 is scheduled depart Dubai Terminal 2 at 0700hrs, landing in Najaf International Airport at 0840hrs local time. The return flight, FZ222, departs at 0940hrs, arriving in Dubai at 1250hrs. One way fares from Dubai to Najaf start at AED920, with fares from Najaf to Dubai starting at $225.
The fares include one piece of hand luggage weighing up to 7kg and one small laptop bag or hand bag plus 20kg checked baggage. A seat with extra legroom costs AED100.
Flights between Dubai and Baghdad/Najaf can be purchased from flydubai's website (www.flydubai.com), its call centre (+971 4231 1000) and through travel partners.
* Data from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.