Direct flights between the two countries were put to a halt in 1990

Saudi budget airline Flynas recently announced its plans to start operating direct flights to Iraq, making it the first Saudi airline to do so in 27 years.

“Flights from main airports in the kingdom to a number of Iraqi cities will start within weeks,” the airline said in a statement.

Direct flights between Saudi Arabia and Iraq were put to a halt after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. But, it seems as though the two countries are turning the page.

Flynas has yet to reveal details pertaining to the Iraqi cities in which it will be operating.
In recent months, officials from Saudi Arabia and Iraq have exchanged visits in an effort to boost bilateral relations.

In August, the Arar border crossing between the two countries opened up for trade for the first time since the invasion.

“This is a great start for further future cooperation between Iraq and Saudi Arabia,” said Sohaib al-Rawi, governor of Iraq’s southwestern Anbar province, according to The National.

The decision was major news for Iraqi pilgrims who are only given access to the crossing once annually during Hajj season.

The border first closed following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, which saw Baghdad and Riyadh cut diplomatic relations.

In August, Saudi Arabia also announced a joint trade commission with Iraq.

The two countries – both OPEC’s top producers – have been working together to stabilize the oil market.

Iraq’s Energy Minister Jabbar al-Luaybi and his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih discussed efforts to stabilize the oil markets “to strengthen and develop bilateral relations … especially in the field of oil and gas, in a way that serves their common interests,” according to Reuters. 

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also visited the kingdom in June, in an effort to boost ties between the two nations. In a meeting earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr agreed that Saudi Arabia will donate $10 million in aid to the Iraqi government.

The two also agreed that Saudi Arabia will study possible investments in the Shiite regions of southern Iraq.

Flynas first launched in 2007 as the kingdom’s first budget airline.

Since its debut, the airline carried more than 30 million passengers.

“Flynas has come a long way to establish itself as a highly reputed airline in Saudi Arabia. With the introduction of the new aircraft technology, we are confident of our ability to provide best services to our customers. We also look forward to being the first airline in the Kingdom to be successfully listed on the Saudi Stock exchange, which will offer equity ownership to the public and be a part of a great journey,” said Ayed Al Jeaid, Chairman of NAS Holding Group.

Earlier this year, the budget airline signed an agreement with Airbus for 60 A320neo aircraft.


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