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Kandahar airport's income risesBy Bashir Ahmad Naadem Nov 17, 2011 - 17:15
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): The monthly income of Kandahar International Airport, where reconstruction projects worth $18 million (868 million afghanis) were completed last year, has increased to $300,000 (14472000 afghanis), an official said on Thursday.
A number of new reconstruction schemes were launched at the airport last year. Some of them have been completed while the rest are underway, the airport manager, Ahmadullah Faizi, told a press conference in Kandahar City.
The projects completed include the installation of a biometric system, a passport-scanning machine and security cameras to better monitor activities and counter threats.
A mobile cargo scanner has been purchased for $1.5 million and handed over to border police for use, the manager said, adding the machine had been useful in fast searches of items meant for export to foreign countries.
He recalled ISAF officials would earlier search trade goods at the airport and the process would take a lot of time, causing fruits and vegetables to rot.
"Now the search is performed in seconds," he said. For the first time in the past four decades, a hundred tonnes of dried and fresh fruits were exported to the United Arab Emirates through the airport this year.
A cold storage facility had also been established at the airport with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development, Faizi continued.
A road connecting the terminal with the main gate of the airport was being built at an estimated cost of $3 million, he said, adding 95 percent work had been completed.
Three generators, each having the capacity to produce 30 kilowatts of electricity, have been installed to power different machines. The generators cost $54,000.
A 10,500 square feet taxiway was being considered along the runway, a project that will cost $12 million. Faizi hoped the plan would be launched soon. He said the proposed taxiway would enable a number of planes to park at different places at the same time.
The official put last year's monthly revenue of the airport at $59,000. But the income increased to $300,000 a month this year. He linked the boost to an increase in the number of aircraft. Similarly, the number of monthly flights rose from 94 in 2010 to 335 a month this year, he explained. He said 3,143 hajj pilgrims were airlifted to Saudi Arabia on 15 flights from the airport. The post-hajj operation was also being successfully carried out, he added.
About next year's plans, he said the construction of a general gate would be a priority. Evolving a master plan, expansion of the parking facility for planes and retaking the airport's land were included next year's plans, he said.
Established 70 years ago, the Kandahar airport is said to be the largest in Central Asia.