by WorldTribune Staff, October 12, 2017
The Saudi budget airline Flynas said on Oct. 11 that it will in the coming weeks offer direct flights to several Iraqi cities.
There have been no flights between Saudi Arabia and Iraq since former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990.
Flynas, which launched as Nas Air in 2007 and first turned a profit in 2015, is facing increasing competition in Saudi Arabia, its primary market, Middle East Eye reported on Oct. 11.
The announcement followed a decision by the Saudi cabinet on Oct. 9 to establish a joint trade commission with Iraq.
Analysts say Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are both offering assistance to Iraq in an effort to halt the growing regional influence of arch-rival Iran.
Influential Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has traveled to several Gulf countries recently for talks with their crown princes.
Sadr’s office said the cleric’s meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman resulted in an agreement for Saudi Arabia to donate $10 million in aid to the Iraqi government and study possible investments in Shia regions of southern Iraq.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir visited Baghdad in February, and the two countries announced in June they would set up a coordination council to upgrade ties.