Kunduz airport preparing for foreign flights
KUNDUZ CITY (Pajhwok): The ongoing expansion of the airport and its terminal in northern Kunduz province would help prepare the facility for domestic and international flights, officials said on Wednesday.
The airport 8 km south-southeast of Kunduz City, the provincial capital, was established during King Mohammad Zahir Shah’s era in 1958 with an unpaved runway. Two years later, the airport was further constructed by the United States.
However, the airport was only used for helicopters after being destroyed during the civil war in the 1990s.
In 2013, the airport’s runway was expanded from one to three kilometres with $ 3 million German assistance.
Local officials say Japan had pledged expanding the runway to four kilometres to help prepare it for big planes to land and take off.
Kunduz airport chief Syed Anwar Sadat said the facility was currently used by small planes which carried 60 persons. But the runway extension would help allow big planes to land and depart, he said.
At the same time, construction work on a new terminal was underway, he said, adding the project was estimated to cost 70 million afghanis funded by the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.
The terminal would take one year to complete. “Next year, Haj pilgrims will directly fly from Kunduz to Saudi Arabia. Afghan Jet, Aryana and KamAir airlines are interested in flights to and from the airport,” Sadat daid.
Moreover, he said, there would be also flights between Kunduz and China as well through the airport.
Residents say they hope the airport’s expansion project would help facilitate Haj pilgrims and passengers.
Naqibullah, a resident of Kunduz, said most pilgrims travelled to Riyadh through Balkh and Kabul airports each year.
“I went to Saudi Arabia for Haj pilgrimage through Mazar-i-Sharif Airport two years ago and faced too many irregularities,” he said.
Sadat said a domestic airline, Ufoq-i-Sharq and UN and IRC planes weekly made 25 flights between Kunduz and Kabul.
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