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    Business & Economics

    Body set up to defend Afghan airlines' rights

    KABUL (PAN): An association was established on Tuesday by the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) to defend the rights of domestic airlines, officials said.

    "The state-run Ariana Afghan Airlines, Kam Air, Sapi Airlines, Afaq-i-Sharq Airlines and Khurasan Cargos are members of the association," the ACCI chief executive told the inaugural ceremony.

    Mohammad Qurban Haqjo said the airlines operated flights between Kabul and several provinces and some regional countries. But they were restrained last year from flying to European countries, with officials saying the aircraft did not meet their standards.

    "The association would work to improve the quality of services for domestic and foreign trips," Haqjo said, hoping the body would help improve cooperation among domestic airlines in an effort to compete with foreign rivals.

    Ahmad Farid Paikar, the association chairman and the Kam Air airlines deputy director, promised they would try to improve cooperation between the airlines and the Afghan government.

    "We have long been awaiting the creation of this association and finally we have it now," said the acting transport and aviation minister, Daud Ali Najafi. "This is a step forward toward enhanced cooperation among state-run and private airlines."

    The government supported private airways and would continue to support them in the future, he assured, saying his ministry had prepared a draft aviation law. He added the draft law, already approved by the Cabinet, would be sent soon to the Wolesi Jirga.

    EU member countries had been asked to reexamine the aircraft of Afghan airlines and send a report in this regard to the government, the acting minister said.

    frm/ma/mud



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