Gulf Air will fly to five cities in Iraq by the end of 2009.

Samer Majali, chief executive officer (CEO) at the Bahraini national carrier has confirmed the airline plans to operate flights from Manama to Baghdad, Najaf, Erbil, Basra and Sulaimaniya by the end of 2009.  

Gulf Air launched its inaugural flight to Baghdad on 1 September, making it the only commercial carrier in the Gulf to fly to Iraq. The only other Middle Eastern airline now flying to the country is Royal Jordanian, where Majali was president and CEO until August.

Gulf Air now flies five times a week to the Iraqi capital. Najaf and Erbil join the network in the coming weeks, with flights to Basra and Sulaimaniya launching later in 2009.