Aigle Azuris launched the first direct commercial service from Paris to Baghdad in 20 years on 30-Oct-2010 although a date for the commencement of regular scheduled services will only commence in Jan-2011 (AP/DW-World/Pakistan Times/Himalayan Times/Huffington Post/AFP, 31-Oct-2010). The service marks the first scheduled direct service by a European airlines to Baghdad for 20 years. The carrier, which will operate twice weekly on the route, is negotiating an agreement with Air France to codeshare on the route. Iraqi Airways in Apr-2010 launched the first direct services between Baghdad and London in 20 years although the service was cancelled due to political issues with Kuwait. Etihad and Emirates both commenced service to Baghdad earlier this year with Gulf Air and MEA Airlines also operating to the city. Lufthansa also had hoped to launch a direct service to Baghdad but deferred the launch due to insufficient demand. Both Lufthansa and Air Berlin already operate to Arbil as does Austrian Airlines. Nordic Airways launched commercial flights to Baghdad from Copenhagen in Jan-2009 although its operating license was revoked later that month.
Aigle Azur launches Paris-Baghdad service
You may also be interested in the following articles...
EU-Gulf open skies negotiations: Qatar CEO Al Baker warns of biased 'fair competition' definition
As the US-Gulf airline dispute loses momentum with the American government, the big Middle East aeropolitical debate will now shift across the Atlantic to Europe, where the European Commission has a mandate to try to negotiate an open skies agreement with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, as well as other countries/blocs, including Turkey and ASEAN.
Qatar Airways CEO H.E. Akbar Al Baker gave a keynote presentation at the recent CAPA-ACTE Global Aviation Summit in Amsterdam and addressed the subject of the EU mandate. Mr Al Baker called for unquestionable third and fourth freedom liberalisation and eventual fifth freedom liberalisation. The devil as always is in the detail; the non-EU airlines in the negotiations are sceptical about how the EU will define a "fair competition" clause, and whether it will be left abstract enough that "fair competition" could potentially be used against airlines in a way they have not envisaged. The Brexit referendum could result in the EU negotiating side losing the UK, whose liberal views have balanced those of the more protectionist France and Germany.
Where the A380 flies: Japan and intra-Asia routes decline while Australia & Middle East grow
The A380 is once again under media scrutiny, despite there being no major movement on the type. Comments from Air France and Qantas about not taking further A380s have long been assumed, and it has been apparent that Malaysia Airlines does not even have the need for its A380s. Singapore Airlines not renewing the lease on its first A380 is hardly surprising, and offers no definitive conclusion about the A380 or second-hand market; early A380s had different production and are not as efficient as later models. The lack of movement on the A380neo continues to irk the model's largest customer by far, Emirates, and may not make for a productive relationship as Emirates weighs an A350 or 787 order.
For most, the A380 continues to fly. How and where it flies is changing. Flights to and from the Middle East are becoming more common as Gulf airlines, and mostly Emirates, take delivery of A380s. A further shift to the Middle East is inevitable. In Japan there has been a near exodus of A380s; airlines dropping the type as they moved from Narita to Haneda, which cannot accommodate the A380 during the day, and Singapore Airlines down-gauging. Intra-Asia flying is decreasing – notable given the growth of A380s based in the region. Services by the A380 to Australia are growing, perhaps as it becomes an easy market for airlines to redeploy capacity amid European security concerns and trans-Pacific overcapacity.