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Iraqi Airways to launch China routes in October

Iraqi Airways plans to begin operating to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Bangkok in October.

Director general Saad Al-Khafaji tells Flightglobal that the Iraqi national carrier is ready to launch services to China and Thailand after renewing all the requisite bilateral agreements last month.

He says the routes could be operated by the Boeing 767s, 777 or Airbus A330 in its fleet before being upgraded to some of the 10 787s Iraqi Airways has on order, the first four of which are due to be delivered in 2015, Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows.

Iraqi Airways returned to Malaysia earlier this month after a 34-year hiatus when it began a twice-weekly 777 service to Kuala Lumpur and expanded operations to neighbouring Georgia, with a once weekly Sulaymaniya-Batumi service in August.

Al-Khafaji says that Iraqi Airways will base roughly half of its operations at the planned 6 million-passenger capacity Middle Euphrates International Airport which is currently under tender.

He says that at present no company has been chosen to construct the airport but that he “doubted” that it would be a Turkish firm despite media reports.

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