Manama: Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national carrier, will resume its services to Iran and Iraq on September 20, following the Bahrain Government’s approval, the airlin said. Flights to Baghdad, Arbil, Najaf and Basra in Iraq and Tehran, Mashhad, Shiraz and Isfahan in Iran will begin progressively between September 20 and October 28 subject to final approvals by the civil aviation authorities of both countries.
Gulf Air halted flights to Iraq and Iran in March 2011.
“We are glad to be resuming our operations to Iran and Iraq,” Samer Majali, Gulf Air Chief Executive Officer said on Wednesday. “I am sure this will be great news for thousands of Iranians and Iraqis living and working in Bahrain and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as well as for the business community for whom the direct flights will be a great advantage.”
Gulf Air was the first and only full-service GCC carrier to operate into Baghdad back in 1976.
“Again, we were the first carrier to restart our operations in 2009, which received overwhelming support from travellers with most of our flights flying to full capacity. However we had to suspend the flights in 2011 due to unavoidable circumstances but were confident that we will resume our operations soon. I am glad the time has come and we look forward to the same support from our customers,” Majali said.
Last week, Manama reinstated its ambassador in Tehran after he was recalled last year for consultations. Iran reciprocated by pulling out its top envoy the next day, but has not until now mentioned his return to Bahrain.
Gulf Air, founded in 1950, said that one of its prime objectives was to connect Bahrain to the Middle East countries and the rest of the world.
“As such the airline currently operates the largest network in the Middle East with non-stop flights while providing seamless onward connections to other international destinations. The airline’s current network stretches from Europe to Asia, connecting 48 cities in 30 countries, with a fleet of 39 aircraft,” the company said.