flydubai, Dubai ’s first low cost airline, launched services to its first Iraqi city and 22nd destination overall, when the airline’s inaugural flight landed in Erbil.

FZ201 took off from Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 2 at 1830hrs on July 16 evening and landed in Iraq’s third largest city, the capital of the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq, three hours later at 2030hrs local time.

flydubai’s Chief Commercial Officer, Hamad Obaidalla, said: “Stability and prosperity is returning to Iraq and particularly the Kurdistan region, and this makes Erbil an important gateway into the country.

“Erbil has seen encouraging development in recent years with many strategic projects being implemented across infrastructure, energy and commerce. Our new direct service will further strengthen the growth of the city by offering affordable and quality air links between the UAE and Iraq.”

Abdul Hadi Osman, Commercial Attache of the Republic of Iraq in Dubai said: “The start of flydubai flights to Erbil is another indication of the continued development of economic relations between Iraq and the UAE. It highlights how the relations between both countries are rapidly improving, moving towards a brighter future.

“The flydubai service will contribute to and accelerate the turnover of the Iraqi economy,” he said.

“We hope other, similar partnerships with the UAE will help highlight the continued building of the new Iraq.”

According to recent reports, Iraq’s GDP was US$112 billion in 2009 and the country’s economy is expected to grow by approximately 7% in 2010, 7.9% in 2011 and at similar rates for the next few years. This is above the average projected growth for the Middle East.

A one-way flight fare from Dubai to Erbil is priced at AED1,225 which can be purchased from the website (www.flydubai.com), call centre (+9714 301 0800) and travel agents.

Flights to Erbil operate twice a week on Fridays and Mondays. On Fridays, FZ201 departs Dubai at 1830hrs, arriving in Erbil at 2030hrs local time. FZ202 departs from Erbil at 2115hrs, landing in Dubai at 0055hrs local time. On Mondays, FZ201 leaves Dubai at 1130hrs arriving in Erbil at 1330hrs local time and the return flight, FZ202, takes off at 1415hrs landing in Dubai at 1800hrs local time.

flydubai operates from a modernised and enhanced Terminal 2 on the north side of Dubai International Airport.