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bmi looks to re-establish Baghdad air links

5th May 2009 Print
bmi, Heathrow’s second biggest airline, has said that it wants to re-establish air links with the Iraqi capital Baghdad from London. bmi has met with senior Iraqi Government officials and told them that bmi is ready and willing and ideally placed to provide flights between the two countries.

The meeting took place as over 300 delegates with Iraqi business interests met at a forum in London attended by the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Malikiand and Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business and Enterprise, to discuss investment in Iraq

Nigel Turner, chief executive officer of bmi who also attended the conference said: “I have handed a letter to Iraq’s transport minister Amr Abduljabber Ismail and told him that we recognise the considerable efforts that are being made to get business and commerce between our two countries to develop and grow. In order for those efforts to succeed normal transport links have to be in place. The ability to travel by air between Heathrow and Baghdad is vital in supporting the considerable energy that is going into bringing business ties and investment back to normality.

“bmi has a great depth of experience in serving the Middle East and it makes both geographical and economic sense for us to add Iraq to our growing network of services to the region. Iraq is surrounded on four sides by countries that we already serve from Heathrow. We are carrying an ever increasing number of passengers who, at the moment, travel from Baghdad to Heathrow via our existing intermediate point of Amman. As trade and business ties grow we envisage that these numbers will grow.

“As the situation returns to normality we are seeing a small number of scheduled services from Baghdad being launched within the region. At the moment we are unable to commence services to Heathrow until the UK Government permits UK aircraft or British registered carriers to fly in and out of Iraq. Nevertheless, I have told Iraqi officials and business that subject to the required levels of operational integrity and safety being satisfactorily achieved and appropriate governmental approval, bmi is ready and willing to once again re-establish air links between Heathrow and Baghdad.”