Starlight partners with Emirates SkyCargo
Dubai, February 12, 2011
UAE-based Starlight Airlines, the largest cargo operator to and out of Iraq, has entered into an agreement with Emirates SkyCargo to launch cargo operations between its Sharjah hub and Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Under the agreement the service operates Boeing 777 freighter to Erbil, twice a week initially, with more likely to be increased to three times a week in the near future. Flights have already commenced operation on February 8.
Erbil, the biggest city in Kurdistan, is witnessing a major surge in growth supported by its security, pro-business environment and foreign investment inflow.
The cargo service by Starlight Airlines reinforces Erbil’s position as a hub for trade and logistics and heralds a new beginning for Iraq’s challenging economy, said a statement from Starlight Airlines.
The new cargo link will create further opportunities for business growth in Iraq where recovery is well under way and abundant hydrocarbon resources are expected to fuel unprecedented economic activity.
International companies looking forward to take part in the reconstruction of Iraq and help boost Iraq’s business and infrastructure will find the twice-a-week cargo link extremely beneficial, it added.
Giovanni Marseal, president and CEO of Starlight Airlines, said, "We are very pleased to join hands with Emirates SkyCargo to operate cargo flights to Erbil and we expect to increase it to three flights a week in the near future."
"We see a huge demand in this sector to carry a variety of goods to Erbil, including perishables, food, auto parts, textiles, agricultural products, electronics and medical items, among others. We also look forward to continuing our contribution to developing commercial ties between the UAE and Iraq," he added.
Trade between Iraq and the UAE has grown substantially in recent years. In 2009, bilateral trade increased 63 per cent to reach $5.19 billion, from $3.79 billion in 2008.
Iraq is now the eleventh largest commercial partner for UAE globally and the second in the Arab world. UAE exports to Iraq increased 41 per cent in 2009 to reach $4.241 billion compared to 2008.
Starlight is a leading provider of international air freight services across the Middle East, Afghanistan, US and the UK markets.
Iraq and Afghanistan are the major base markets for the airline, which has offices in Erbil, Baghdad, Sulaymaniah, Basra, Umm Qaser, Dahouk, Zako and Safwan in Iraq, as well as in Turkey, Jordan, China and Houston in addition to the UK.-TradeArabia News Service