Iraq's First No-Frills Airline Takes Flight

Royal Jordanian Airlines and Iraqi Airways are the only two scheduled commercial carriers flying between Baghdad and Amman. Expat's Baghdad flights will use Jordan's Marka Airport.

Carter Andress, chief executive of American Iraqi Solutions Group, a U.S. Department of Defense contractor in Baghdad, said he has had ''more than a few'' flights canceled or postponed during the dozen or so trips he's made to Baghdad since January 2004.

''It's kind of a headache when you need to get in or out of this place,'' he said. ''I'm a free marketer, so more competition in this arena is better.''

Even so, Andress, who employs about 1,000 Iraqis at his company, said he's hesitant to fly Expat. ''Frankly, I'm weary of contributing to what can be perceived here as bias to the Iraqi people.''

The cost of a one-way ticket on Expat Airways is $450, and the 500-mile trip is no-frills. No food or beverages are served and passengers are prohibited from bringing alcohol onboard. Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis and passengers have to load and unload their luggage. Tickets are paid in cash with no refunds. Reservations can be made by e-mail.

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