UAE airlines cancel Baghdad flights after missile strikes

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 08 2020 05:42 PM

People hold a Palestinian and Iranian flags as they celebrate in the street after Iran launched missiles at US-led forces in Iraq, in Tehran, Iran Jan.8, 2020. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters


DUBAI - UAE carriers Emirates Airline and low-cost Flydubai said Wednesday they had cancelled flights to Baghdad for "operational reasons" after Iran fired ballistic missiles on bases housing US troops.

"Emirates flights EK 943 from Dubai to Baghdad and flight EK 944 from Baghdad to Dubai on Jan. 8 have been cancelled for operational reasons," Emirates Airline said in a statement. 

"We are carefully monitoring the developments and are in close contact with the relevant government authorities with regards to our flight operations, and will make further operational changes if required," said the Middle East region's largest carrier. 

Iran early on Wednesday fired 22 missiles at two bases in Iraq housing US troops in retaliation for the Friday killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike.

Dubai's budget carrier Flydubai also said it had cancelled its scheduled flight to Baghdad on Wednesday but operated other flights to Basra and Najaf.

"We are liaising with the relevant authorities and continue to monitor the situation closely," the airline said.

There was no word immediately from other Gulf airlines on their flights to Iraq but some of them have continued to accept bookings to various Iraqi cities.

Bahrain's Gulf Air on Friday suspended flights to and from Baghdad and Shiite holy city of Najaf until further notice.

Kuwait Airways said on Twitter on Monday that its flights to Najaf, the only route it operates to Iraq, had been suspended for 4 weeks following the outbreak of violent protests for "safety" reasons.