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Iraqi Airways resumes direct flights to Beijing

Iraqi Airways will run two direct flights to and from China a week Unsplash/Xiaolin Zhang
Iraqi Airways will run two direct flights each week to and from China
  • First landing in China this week
  • Flights out on Tuesday and Saturday
  • Returns on Wednesday and Sunday

Iraqi Airways has resumed direct flights from Baghdad to Beijing, ending a hiatus that lasted several years, with hopes of increased business travel and tourism.

The Ministry of Transport announced that the first flight departed from Baghdad International Airport in Iraq to Beijing Daxing International Airport in China this week.

“In line with the directives of the minister of transport, Razzaq Muhaibis Al-Saadawi, to expand the national carrier’s destinations, Iraqi Airways is proud to restart this vital route,” it said in a statement.

Manaf Abdul-Moneim, director general of Iraqi Airways, said the resumption was a crucial step in improving relationships between Iraq and China, especially since it will open “new horizons of cooperation” between the two countries.

China is the biggest importer of Iraqi oil. It is one of Iraq’s largest trading partners, and has significant investments in the country’s oil and infrastructure sectors. 

According to the International Trade Centre, bilateral trade between China and Iraq in 2023 amounted to nearly $50 billion.

That was made up of $14 billion in exports from China to Iraq and approximately $35 billion in exports from Iraq to China.

The new flight schedule covers two weekly routes from Iraq to China, departing Baghdad on Saturdays and Tuesdays, and returning from Beijing on Sundays and Wednesdays. 

Iraqi Airways is seeking to expand its international reach. The airline has been working to modernise its fleet and improve its service standards, aiming to position itself as an important player in the regional aviation market.

Established in 1945, it is one of the oldest airlines in the Middle East. The carrier has faced numerous challenges over the decades arising from conflict and instability in Iraq, and economic sanctions. 

The pandemic further delayed the resumption of international flights out of Iraq, including those to China. 

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