Did you know that there are nonstop flights from Baghdad to Washington… on EgyptAir… every three weeks? Neither did I!
EgyptAir’s Baghdad to Washington route
Every three weeks, Star Alliance member EgyptAir operates a flight from Cairo to Washington via Baghdad. This is in addition to the carrier’s nonstop Cairo to Washington flight, which operates multiple times per week. Specifically, this flight operates with the following schedule:
MS3051 Cairo to Baghdad departing 3:30AM arriving 6:55AM
MS3051 Baghdad to Washington departing 9:00AM arriving 3:00PM
MS3052 Washington to Baghdad departing 7:30PM arriving 2:10PM (+1 day)
MS3051 Baghdad to Cairo departing 3:40PM arriving 5:15PM
You can track MS3051 on Flightradar24 here, and track MS3052 on Flightradar24 here.
The flight to Washington operates on Mondays, while the flight to Baghdad operates on Tuesdays (again, every third week). EgyptAir uses its flagship Boeing 787-9 for the route, featuring 309 seats, including 30 business class seats and 279 economy class seats.
Why does EgyptAir fly from Baghdad to Washington?
EgyptAir’s service between Baghdad and Washington is a charter flight, so it’s not bookable by the general public. You won’t find these tickets on sale on EgyptAir’s website or on online travel agencies, and for that matter the flight number is different than the typical ones that EgyptAir uses for long haul service (it’s four digits rather than three digits).
What I haven’t quite been able to figure out is why EgyptAir operates this service:
- Presumably this is intended to carry passengers and/or cargo between the capital of the United States and the capital of Iraq; this could include contractors, diplomats, etc.
- I’m not sure why EgyptAir is operating this service — perhaps it’s because EgyptAir was one of the few airlines willing to operate this, and/or offered the best price to the charter operator
- Typically US government employees and contractors have to fly with US airlines (either a US airline directly, or a codeshare from a US airline on another airline), though I’d assume that’s not at play for this service
That’s all I know, so I’d like to open this up to OMAAT readers — anyone have more details about this intriguing charter flight? Is the flight between Cairo and Baghdad empty and just for repositioning? Who exactly is taking this flight, and what party is behind the charter? Is it consistently full? I’m sure I’m not the only one who would be curious to know!
Interestingly back in 2015, Iraqi Airways planned to launch nonstop flights from Baghdad to Washington. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t materialize.
EgyptAir operates a charter every three weeks from Baghdad to Washington, which must be one of the most interesting consistently scheduled services to the United States. While I know this is a charter flight, and while it’s presumably intended to carry officials of some sort between Iraq and the United States, I don’t know much beyond that.
If anyone has more intel on this service, I’d sure love to learn more!
What do you make of this EgyptAir Baghdad to Washington service?
(Tip of the hat to David)
I agree with OP that the frequency is odd. Would love to know who made the charter and how you could get on it. My guess is military, a lot of cargo, spies from multiple origins and maybe crew.
Will watch comments if any facts are posted. Interesting...
I would NOT fly for Egypt Air because of a past incident involving a suicide pilot. PERIOD.
I was on an EgyptAir-operated trooping flight from the UK to the Gulf a few years ago. I'd imagine this is something similar. Our flight had an RAF flight number though. The flight was hilarious - EgyptAir had made the case to have several "technicians" on board as passengers; they all made casual conversation about troop numbers, missile ranges etc...
Interesting since a little known company, Biz Intel, recently took over the security contract at Baghdad International Airport from G4S recently. Not sure how long this will continue with Biz Intel in charge...
It’s a U.S. Government charter. U.S. carriers not approved to fly to Baghdad.
Maybe this is America's version of Conviasa’s Tehran route.
Same purpose, same objective?
I assume MS is one of the few airlines willing to operate to BGW but also has security permissions to fly to the US... and has a spare plane/crew. So your reasoning is probably spot-on. It's odd, however, that it's every three weeks - seems like a strange frequency.
Fly America Act wouldn't come in to play for this scenario - which I suspect is why it routes like this instead of just going BGW-CAI and then using normal MS flights to IAD.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Emirates, Qatar, Saudia, Turkish, and a few other major players all fly to Baghdad.
yes, but not nonstop from the U.S.
My guess is it mail and other non-time sensitive cargo. Maybe money?