Iraq to resume Baghdad-Paris flights after 20 yrs


BAGHDAD, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Iraq’s national airline plans to resume direct flights between Baghdad and Paris after 20 years, the government said on Monday, prompted by demand following a drop in violence levels and a rise in investor interest.

State-owned Iraqi Airways will sign an agreement with French authorities in mid-November to resume weekly flights between Baghdad and Paris, Iraq’s cabinet said in a statement.

More airlines are opening routes into Iraq after a fall in violence over the past 18 months, despite the hazards of air travel into a country where bombings and attacks remain common.

Flights from Baghdad to other Middle Eastern destinations have jumped in recent years, and airlines have slowly begun opening up direct routes to European destinations.

Iraqi Airways recently began direct flights to Stockholm, and is eyeing direct flights to Germany as its next destination, an airline official said.

(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Writing by Deepa Babington)