Qatar flies into Basra

Qatar Airways has become the first Arab airline to start regular humanitarian flights into the southern Iraqi city of Basra. Today’s inaugural flight was led by Qatar’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  June 10, 2003

Qatar Airways has become the first Arab airline to start regular humanitarian flights into the southern Iraqi city of Basra. Today’s inaugural flight, led by Qatar’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, carried urgent humanitarian aid from charity organisations in Qatar. This is eventually expected to become a full commercial service.

Flight QR476 left Doha International at O7:10 and landed in Basra at 09:30. The Airbus A320 aircraft spent an hour in Basra being unloaded before it returned to to Doha.

"Qatar Airways will operate regular humanitarian services into Iraq," says Al Baker. "The State of Qatar is keen to re-establish the very positive links that have united the people of Qatar and Iraq, [and] these regular humanitarian flights to Basra will serve as the bridge between our two countries.”

"Unfortunately commercial services into Basra are not possible because the airport is not ready to adequately handle the normal logistical and security issues associated with commercial services,” he adds.

"[However,] we are still expecting that Qatar Airways will be one of the first airlines to operate commercial services into Basra and Baghdad," he continues.

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