Iraqi Airways announce two new flights from Manchester
Iraqi Airways has announced the launch two new routes into Sulaymaniyah and Erbil from March.
The area surrounding Erbil has become well known as the scheme of several waves of attacks from ISIS in recent days, but Saad Al-Lhafaji, UK general manager of Iraqi Airways, told Manchester Evening News he was confident the troubles would not hinder the success of the new services.
He said: “Our experience tells us that even in the worst scenarios, people will still want to visit their home county and their friends and family.
“The north of England and the west Midlands has a big Kurdish community but we think the area will also be attractive to investors and business travellers as well.”
The flight to Erbil will depart Manchester Airport on a Wednesday at 22:00 and the flight to Sulaymaniyah will leave on a Sunday also at 22:00.
Both routes will be operated by a brand new Boeing 737-800 with capacity for 162 passengers and return fares will start from £383.
Ken O’Toole, pictured, chief commercial officer at Manchester Airports Group, said: “We are pleased to welcome Iraqi Airways to Manchester Airport and further increase the options and choice for passengers travelling to and from the Middle East.
“Manchester is now the only airport outside of London to offer these routes with Iraqi Airways, and confirms the national role played by our airport. With Manchester already having two runways and a catchment area of 22 million people living with two hours of the airport, we have the capacity to support airlines that have ambition to grow in the UK.”
Mr Al-Khafaji added: “We are looking forward to working with everyone at Manchester Airport to offer passengers the opportunity to fly direct to Iraq. With a strong Kurdish community across the region in the north and West Midlands, we are sure the route will prove to be popular.
“This is the first ever direct flight service between Iraq and Manchester.”
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