Turkish private airline restarts regular flights to Nothern Iraq


ANKARA – A privately owned Turkish airline announced that it would launch regular flights between Istanbul and the northern Iraqi city of Arbil starting from June 29, local newspaper Today’s Zaman reported on Monday.

The Turkish airline company Atlasjet had long considered Istanbul-Arbil flights, but the project had been stalled many times for various reasons such as security and flight safety concerns, said the report.

The flights will initially run five days a week, with the possibility of being increased to six days a week depending on demand, said the report, adding that the airline plans to transport 3,000 passengers monthly.

CRJ-900s and Airbus A319s will be flying between the two cities, it said.

Although Arbil is a high-risk area in terms of security, charter companies have always been interested in flying to the region because of the high profitability.

The first flights between Turkey and northern Iraq were from Istanbul to Sulaimaniya starting in 1995 by Fly Air. Flights to Arbil followed later. However, the airline terminated the flights to the region in 2006.