Qatar Airways Senior Vice President GCC, Levant, Iran and Indian Subcontinent, Fathi Al Shehab, with airline and Sulaymaniyah International Airport officials yesterday.
DOHA/SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq: Qatar Airways yesterday launched flights to its fifth destination in Iraq, Sulaymaniyah, increasing the airline’s frequency across Iraq from 16 to 20 flights each week.
The new services, which will operate four-times-a-week non-stop from the airline’s Doha hub, brings the carrier’s global network to 129 destinations worldwide.
The Doha–Sulaymaniyah route is being operated by a state-of-the-art Airbus A320 featuring 144 seats in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy. The launch marks the rapid expansion by Qatar Airways in Iraq since the middle of 2012 when it began flights to Erbil, followed by the capital Baghdad, Najaf and Basra.
Sulaymaniyah also marks the carrier’s fifth new Middle Eastern destination launched this year after Basra, Najaf, Gassim in Saudi Arabia and Salalah in Oman.
The arrival of Qatar Airways’ flight QR438 was welcomed with a water salute at Sulaymaniyah International Airport and a reception presided over by local officials. Fathi Al Shehab, Qatar Airways Senior Vice President GCC, Levant, Iran and Indian Subcontinent, led an official delegation on the flight from Doha and was welcomed at the airport by Director General Sulaymaniyah International Airport Eng Tahir Qadir.
“The Republic of Iraq has been on our list of expansion priorities for some time and the last 12 months have seen us move forward very quickly opening up four new gateways in Iraq with a fifth, Sulaymaniyah, starting today,” said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.
The Sulaymaniyah flights connect to over 100 destinations worldwide, including London, Paris, Singapore, Bangkok, Beijing, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Delhi and Mumbai.
Sulaymaniyah is an important economic and cultural centre for Iraq. It is a mountainous province and had been named the cultural capital of Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Due to relative peace in the region it has a more developed economy in comparison to other parts of Iraq.