The Iraqi Kurdistan airline’s first routes will link Erbil, Baghdad and Sulaimaniyah with Stockholm and Gothenburg, among others.
After several years’ delay due to the recent war against Islamic State in Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan’s first airline, Fly Erbil, has taken to the skies – with a trip to Sweden.
At a press conference at Erbil International Airport, Governor Nawzad Hadi praised the “momentous” occasion and congratulated the airline’s staff.
“We are very happy with this occasion and the start of the airline’s first flight,” he said, calling it “a momentous moment for all of the people of Kurdistan”.
Hadi also highlighted the role the Kurdistan Regional Government is playing in paving the way for businesses to come and help develop the region.
The airline’s administrative director, Ahmad Jamal, says that Fly Erbil currently has three planes but aims to increase that to ten. On its website, the company is advertising flights to five countries, “targeting destinations with large communities and investors who operate in Iraq,” Jamal told the news agency AFP.
Journey from Iraq
The website shows a Boeing 737 and advertises flights between Erbil and Stockholm, Gothenburg, Amsterdam, Birmingham, Kiev and Nuremberg, as well as from both Baghdad and Sulaimaniyah to Stockholm.
Before the emergence of IS, the oil-endowed Kurdistan region’s economy had been on the rise as foreign investors and companies started to do business in the region.
As the war in the region drew to a close, Baghdad imposed punitive measures against Erbil in response to the region’s independence referendum last September – including an international flight ban and border closures. Since then, relations between the two sides have improved.