EgyptAir operated a nonstop flight from Washington Dulles to Erbil, Iraq, the first nonstop flight between between U.S. capital and Iraqi Kurdistan.
COVID-19 has created some interesting repatriation flights, including a special charter flight operated by EgyptAir from the U.S. to Iraq on Monday. The flight utilized a Boeing 787-9 with a flight time of 11 hours, 30 minutes.
MS3052 Washington Dulles (IAD) 5:00PM – Erbil (EBL) 11:30AM+1
MS3053 Erbil 1:00PM+1 – Cairo (CAI) 2:40PM+1
After reaching Erbil, the flight continued to Cairo after a 90-minute layover.
In late 2015, Iraqi Airways announced it would start longhaul service between Washington Dulles and Baghdad in 2016 (and London, Tunis, and Minsk, Belarus). While service to London eventually commenced, service to Washington never started.
“The preparation has been done after several meetings were held with the administrative bodies of the airports that Iraq is planning to travel to.”
Austrian, Emirates, Lufthansa, and Qatar fly to Iraq van their hubs, but no carrier offers nonstop service to Erbil or any other city in Iraq. And that’s hardly a surprise…I doubt demand is very strong in either direction and Baghdad or Erbil (though a beautiful airport) is hardly a regional connecting hub.
While there were many direct flights between the U.S. and Iraq to transport troops during the Gulf Wars, EgyptAir’s nonstop service to Erbil was a record breaker.
To all the Iraqi Kurds who are now home, welcome home.
Read my trip report to Iraqi Kurdistan: