Air Berlin to begin passenger flights to Iraq | Business | Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 04.02.2010

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Air Berlin to begin passenger flights to Iraq

Germany's second-largest airline says it will begin regular flights to Iraq from Saturday. The new route forms another link in the carrier's expanding global network of destinations.

An Air Berlin jetliner in the air

Air Berlin is seeking to reconnect Iraq to Europe

Low-cost air carrier Air Berlin said it will begin scheduled fortnightly passenger flights to Iraq as of Saturday, the first German airline to do so since the Iraq War.

The airline said connections would be offered from Munich to Erbil in northern Iraq and Sulaimaniya in northeastern Iraq, alternating every second week between the two destinations.

Air Berlin said the frequency of the flights would increase as summer approached.

A tour company would be responsible for marketing most of the seats, but that the airline itself would also sell tickets, it said.

Most airlines cancelled flights to Iraq due to the unstable security situation in the country since the US-led invasion in 2003 and the toppling of dictator Saddam Hussein. Only a handful of Middle Eastern airlines currently offer flights directly to Iraq.

Air Berlin has been long regarded as a predominantly domestic and intra-European carrier. In recent years, however, it has been offering routes further afield, both through more direct flights to destinations in the United States and Asia and by entering into codesharing cooperations with Russian and Chinese airlines.

Germany's largest airline, Lufthansa, announced recently that it was reviewing resuming flights to Iraq with the prospect of establishing a route to the country by summer.


Editor: Nancy Isenson

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