Dubai: Low-cost carrier flydubai announced it will be temporarily suspending its flights to and from Erbil in the north of Iraq, complying with a notice from the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority to suspend international flights.
The move comes after an independence referendum in northern Iraq in which Iraqi Kurds voted overwhelmingly in favour of an independent state.
Flydubai flights between Dubai and Erbil will be suspended from September 30 after the carrier received a Notice to Airmen issued by the Iraqi authorities, a flydubai spokesperson said.
Other large carriers in the UAE such as Etihad Airways and Emirates airline do not operate flights to Erbil. Air Arabia, the only other UAE-based budget carrier operating flights to Erbil, has not yet issued its statement on the matter.
Regionally, other carriers including EgyptAir and Royal Jordanian said they will also be suspending flights to Erbil.
The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority sent a notice on Wednesday to foreign airlines telling them international flights to Erbil and Sulaimaniya in the Kurdish region would be suspended on Friday, Reuters reported. The notice said that only domestic flights will be allowed.