In an effort to tap the growing traffic in the region, the Dubai-based Emirates Airline will operate seven new routes this year. The emphasis will be on connecting India with Medina and Baghdad and other international destinations.

The service to Baghdad, which began on July 1, is scheduled on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays whereas the flights on the Medina sector, which began on July 2 will be on Fridays and Sundays.

The airline is eyeing an expected surge in passenger and cargo movement. “Trade between India and Iraq is currently growing as infrastructure companies from India are playing a larger role in Iraq's rebuilding. Further, the Medina service is expected to benefit Haj pilgrims,” the airline's vice-president for India and Nepal Orhan Abbas said in a press release here.

The airline had commenced services to Tokyo and Amsterdam. It will, in the coming months, introduce services to Prague, Madrid and Dakar. It had also announced a chain of complementary value deals with an eye on Indian tourists opting for international destinations. Emirates considered India an important and fast-growing market as the country was the carrier's largest outstation with services to ten destinations including all the three stations in Kerala. The airline had made an 87 per cent increase in its total services to India over the last two years as it presently operated 184 services a week from the country, Mr. Abbas said.

The airline is planning to consolidate after the expansion spree in the past two years. This is attributed reportedly to the exhaustion of the approved seat capacity under its aviation rights in India.