KSA renews air links with Iraq after 27 years of break

Saudi Arabia Wednesday resumed air links with neighboring Iraq by directing flights of its low-cost carrier flynas to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, 27 years following last direct flights between the two countries.

“We worked hard to see that flynas flights to the brotherly nation of Iraq are operational as quickly as possible in order to connect the two brotherly nations economically and socially after a 27-year-long break,” flynas CEO Bandar al-Muhanna said in a statement.

The tickets on promotion for the first flights were rated $7 bar taxes.

Last direct flights between the two countries were suspended in 1990 after then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded neighboring Kuwait.

Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal owns 34 per cent of Flynas’ stakes. The airline is planning to operate flights to other Iraqi cities.

Saudi Arabia’s flagship carrier, Saudi Arabian Airlines, will also resume flights to Baghdad as of this Thursday.

Saudi-Iraqi relations started warming up following high profile two-way visits in recent months.

Saudi top diplomat, Abdel Jubeir visited Baghdad in February, the first by a Saudi senior official since 2003.

Riyadh in July welcomed Iraqi and Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who was opposed the Iraq’s invasion by the US and believed close to Iran.

Riyadh’s move to re-establish ties with Baghdad according to analysts is meant to curb Iran’s vast influence in Iraq and prepare Saudi investments in the country.

In July Saudi Arabia opened the border crossing between the two countries to allow Iraqi pilgrims to enter the kingdom to perform the hajj.

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