Saudia begins flights to Iraq’s Erbil

The airline will operate three weekly flights to Erbil from Jeddah

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has started direct flights to the Iraqi city of Erbil on Monday, October 1, marking its second destination in the country after Baghdad.

The airline will operate three weekly flights to Erbil from Jeddah on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, the airline said in a statement.

The first flight SV0625 departed King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah at 6am, arriving in the Iraqi city at 9.10am. Return flight SV0624 leaves Erbil International Airport at 10am, arriving in Jeddah at 1.10pm.

The direct flights of Saudi Airlines between Jeddah and Erbil are intended to serve pilgrims, tourists and businessmen, Saudia said in the statement.

It will also provide investment opportunities and tourism programmes in both the countries, it added.

Saudia resumed flights to Baghdad in October last year after a 27-year suspension in the route.

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

There were no flights between the two countries since former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of neighbouring Kuwait.

However, ties have been improving between the two countries since last year.

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

It was also reported in July that Saudi 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