Fly Baghdad Plans to Start Flights to Europe, India Next Year: Chief Executive
Iraqi budget carrier Fly Baghdad plans to start flights to Europe and India next year, expanding its network beyond the Middle East, chief executive said.
Fly Baghdad Chief Executive, Ali al-Hamdany told Reuters on Wednesday (November 29) that the airline would begin talks with local and Europe regulators early next year to launch the European routes, targeting the Iraqi diaspora.
“There is a huge population which is cash rich and is not too many places to visit in Iraq. Everyone is talking about travelling,” Hamdany told Reuters at an industry conference in Dubai.
Fly Baghdad launched in 2015, competing against state-owned Iraqi Airways, one of the Middle East’s oldest airlines.
The airline, owned by Iraqi investors, operates a fleet of two Boeing 149-seat 737-700 jets and one 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 to Erbil and Sulaimani in the Kurdistan Region and to Turkey’s Istanbul as well as to Jordan’s Amman.
The Baghdad-based airline also aims to start turning a profit next year after it adds flights to Frankfurt in Germany, Malmo in Sweden and India’s Delhi as part of its proposed network expansion which will also include Dubai, Reuters reported.
Hamdany said Fly Baghdad would lease a Boeing 737-700 and Boeing 737-800 next year for the proposed new routes.
According to the chief executive, Fly Baghdad would have six to eight aircraft in airline’s fleet by 2020, when it aims to carry out an initial public offering.
Fly Baghdad will also start flights to Turkey’s Ankara and Beirut in Lebanon next month.