New facilities being added to Kandahar airport
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): Several projects worth hundreds of million of dollars have been completed and others are underway to add new facilities to the Kandahar airport, an official said on Thursday.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, the airport chief said the airport that was built 60 years ago was in need of projects to provide modern-era services.
Ahmadullah Faizi added the projects included construction of a new terminal entrance, with mine-detecting equipment and entry, exit and cargo roads. Forty-five percent work on the US-funded project, costing $4 million, has already been done.
A huge scanning machine, which has the capacity to scan a vehicle-load of material, is also being installed at a cost of id="mce_marker" million, provided by the Canadian government. The old scanners could only check passengers' bags and luggage.
As part of the mdernisation effort, the official said, a cold storage facility had been set up at the airport with financial support of id="mce_marker"00,000 from the US. Exporters could store their fruit consignments there, he added.
Faizi revealed another plan for improving power supply to the aircraft terminal, where new toilets would be constructed -- another US-financed scheme that would account for $4 million.
Another project on the drawing board pertains to the construction of a new exit terminal a $600,000 initiative of the Transport and Aviation Ministry. Work on the terminal, already designed, will commence in the near future.
Significantly, he said, Afghan businesspeople had donated id="mce_marker"20,000 for expanding different airport facilities. The old terminal, which has no baggage conveyor or air-conditioning systems, needs to be replaced, according to the airport head, who said talks were ongoing to finance the $65 plan.
The location of military installations in the vicinity was a big hurdle to efforts at bringing it to international standards, Faizi complained, saying part of the airport's measuring 6,500 acres had been allotted to ISAF under an agreement with the government.
Also situated near the airport are the 205th Atal Military Corps installations, as well as offices of private firms. He pointed out that lease agreements, jurisdiction of the Transport and Aviation Ministry, were being concluded by the Defence Ministry.
The problems impeded the airport master plan's implementation, Faizi noted, saying both domestic and international flights had increased over the years. The airport is used for seven flights a week to Iran, India, Dubai and other countries, civilian and military purposes.
Negotiations were underway with the DHL Airways on operating flights to Kandahar, he said, hoping an agreement with the airline would hasten import deliveries from different parts of the globe. Similarly, DHL flights will help quicken airlifting of exports to many nations.
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