|Qatar Airlines has maintained|
profitability despite hard times
for the air industry
Chief Executive Akbar al-Bakr said Qatar Airways would start the commercial services “when it lands its A320 in Basra on Tuesday."
Since August 1990, there has been a ban on commercial flights, in addition to other trade sanctions, slapped on Iraq by the United Nations after its invasion of Kuwait.
The handful of airlines that flew to Iraq while the recently lifted sanctions were in place operated commercial charter flights.
The inaugural Qatar Airways flight will carry humanitarian and medical aid, "a present from the people of Qatar to the people of Iraq," the Chief Executive said.
Al-Bakr added that he initially expected the Tuesday and Friday flights to Basra to "serve the international aid community." Flights to the capital Baghdad would be launched in due course.
Qatar Airways operates a fleet of 23 Airbus planes, set to increase to 28 by the end of the year, and currently flies to 40 destinations in Europe, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and North Africa and will begin flights to Moscow in August.
Founded in 1994, the airline is owned equally by the Doha government and private investors.