DOHA: Qatar Airways will be one of the first airlines in the world to operate flights to Baghdad if the United Nations embargo on Iraq is lifted, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Akbar Al Baker, said.
Holding a press briefing before the inaugural flight to Riyadh took off yesterday, he said the airline has already identified premises to set up an office in the Iraqi capital.
“We want to remain prepared and in case sanctions against the country are lifted, we don’t want to miss out the opportunity to operate services to Baghdad,” the CEO said. He added that all necessary legal formalities have been completed to facilitate the setting of an office in Iraq.
Asked if the embargo on Iraq was likely to be lifted soon, Akbar said this question should actually be directed to UN representatives. “As far as we are concerned, we just want to make sure that we are prepared. We are a proactive and not reactive ailrline”.
A team of senior airline officials will leave for Baghdad on April 9 in connection with the airline’s plans, he said.
Asked how the team is likely to travel to Iraq in the absence of air services, the CEO of the national carrier remarked: “Flying is not the only means of going there”.
IMO the Baghdad route (If opened) will be extremely profitable because of the large population of Iraq and the large number of Iraqis living abroad