Emirates, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia have cancelled their service to Baghdad after shots were fired at a flydubai plane upon arrival at the city's airport on Monday, media reports said. The airlines' decision followed a move by the UAE's aviation authorities to ban flights to the Iraqi capital.
Dubai-based flydubai reportedly said that no passengers were injured in the incident but the fuselage was damaged, and the damage was "consistent with small arms fire." The plane was reportedly carrying 154 passengers and authorities said that passengers travelling from Baghdad to Dubai were flown on a replacement aircraft. An investigation is underway “to establish what happened,” a spokesperson for the airline reportedly said.
A senior official for Emirates told Reuters that all flights to Baghdad had been suspended, adding that the decision was taken following the shooting incident.
“We remain committed to our customers in Iraq and hope to resume services to Baghdad as soon as operational conditions allow us to do so,” an Emirates spokesperson said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Air Arabia also reportedly suspended flights to Baghdad following the aviation authority’s ban on flying to the city.
“The safety of our customers and employees is always our first priority,” Etihad reportedly said, in a statement, adding that it had "suspended all flights to the Iraqi city with immediate effect and until further notice."
Staff at the Baghdad airport told local media that there had been disruptions to several flights following the incident on Monday.