DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Middle East’s largest airline is halting flights to the northern Iraqi city of Irbil as the country struggles to confront a destabilizing insurgency.
Dubai-based carrier Emirates said Tuesday it will suspend flights to the Kurdish regional capital starting Aug. 12 for “operational reasons.”
The airline did not link the move specifically to unrest in Iraq. It says the suspension followed a review of operations “to ensure the best utilization of its aircraft fleet for its overall business objectives.”
The airline will continue to fly to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and the southern oil hub of Basra.
Irbil has attracted much of the international investment that Iraq has received following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. It and the surrounding Kurdish enclave are generally safer than many other parts of the country.