Saudia to begin flights to Iraq’s Erbil

The Saudi flag carrier resumed flights to Iraq last October after 27 years



Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) will begin direct flights to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan from early October, according to Saudi Press Agency.

The new route comes after Saudia resumed flights to Baghdad in October, following the warming of ties between Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Prior to this, there were no flights between the kingdom and Iraq in the 27 years since former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of neighbouring Kuwait.

Read: Saudi Arabian Airlines resumes flying to Iraq after 27 years

Saudia director general Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser said the new regular service would boost relations between the two countries and provide tourism and investment opportunities, as well as additional transit traffic for the airline.

In July, it was reported that Saudi Arabia offered to build a huge solar power plant and sell the electricity to Iraq at a steep discount to power rates offered by regional rival Iran.

Read: Saudi offers to sell power to Iraq at a discount to Iranian rates

Bloomberg cited a spokesperson for Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity, Mussab Serri, as confirming the offer.

Serri said the plan included the building of a 3,000MW solar facility within a year of signing the agreement, according to the publication.

The offer came amid protects across Iraq in recent months linked to frustration over unemployment and poor public services.

Iraq’s second city and oil hub, Basra, was rocked by five days of demonstrations last week that saw protestors block entry to the country’s Umm Qasr seaport. At least 13 protestors were killed and dozens more injured in the violence.

A separate rocket attack on Basra airport was reported on Saturday.

In June, the kingdom and Iraq began work on a border crossing point and land port near the Saudi town of Arar.

Read: Saudi, Iraq to begin work on border crossing