updated 6/8/2011 9:19:05 AM ET 2011-06-08T13:19:05

Austrian Airlines has resumed flights to Baghdad after 21 years, becoming the first major western carrier with regular flights to the Iraqi capital.

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The Austrian Airlines plane touched down Wednesday afternoon at Baghdad International Airport.

The decision by the Vienna-based airline to resume Baghdad flights should help Iraq lure international investors.

The airline said in a statement that it will fly the route three times a week.

Austrian began flying to Baghdad in 1982 but stopped in 1990 due to the first Gulf War.

The airline currently flies to the northern Iraqi city of Irbil six times a week.

Many regional carriers, including Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and Turkish Airlines, already fly to the Iraqi capital. But there are no direct passenger flights between Baghdad and western Europe.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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