French airline to launch Paris-Baghdad flights

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French airline Aigle Azur is preparing to launch the first direct commercial flights from Paris to Baghdad for 20 years, a spokeswoman for the company told AFP on Thursday.

An inaugural flight is planned on October 30 for business leaders and "in a few weeks, the regular programme will be launched" with two flights a week to the Iraqi capital from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, the spokeswoman said.

"We are still waiting for a few points to be finalised," she added.

Aigle Azur said it was negotiating a deal to take Air France passengers arriving in Paris on to Baghdad, allowing Air France to sell indirect flights to Iraq for the first time since 1990.

The French flag-carrier suspended its flights to Baghdad that year at the start of the Gulf War and more years of conflict since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq prevented them from being resumed.

Aigle Azur's current flights serve France, Portugal and North Africa.

Iraqi Airways in April launched the first direct flights between Baghdad and London in 20 years.

© 2010 AFP

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