Kandahar airport gaining international trust
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Development work worth $100 million took place during the past five years at the airport in southern Kandahar province, an official said on Wednesday.
Ahmadullah Faizi, the airport director, told Pajhwok Afghan News the projects included construction of a new runway, taxi way, reconstruction of the passenger terminal and the establishment of biometric security system.
He said funds for the projects were provided by the US and local businessmen also played their role in rehabilitation of the country’s second main international airport.
Faizi said the new passenger terminal provided a proper place for waiting guests at the airport.
He said foreign forces had promised transferring important machinery to the airport before leaving Afghanistan in addition to continuing their support for the airport even after their departure.
He said the airport was located in a strategic location and many airplanes stopped here to get fuel. He added the Kandahar airport was the largest in the country and every kind of airplanes could land on its runway.
The construction of the terminal gate cost $4 million, Faizi said, adding the gate with entrance, exit and cargo facilities also had roads and had been built landmine and bullet-proof.
Faizi said they chalked out plans for development of the airport every year and worked to solve problems considered hurdle to the standard of the airport.
With these projects, he said, not only their income had increased, but the airport was gradually adopting international standards.
In 2013, he said, the airport income stood at $133,000, but the income rose to $1 million and 400,000 in 2014, indicating a 19 percent increase.
He did not provide figures for income during the past five months of this year, but said the political tension after last year’s elections had an impact on the airport, but still income would be high.
The airport director also said all affairs of the airport would be transferred to the Afghan Aviation Authority from foreign forces in the near future. He said most affairs at the port currently spearheaded by Afghans.
He said a number of airport officials had been sent to India, Singapore, Jordan and other countries for technical education ahead of assuming full charge of the airport.
Running all affairs at the airport required a well-equipped and professional force, he said, adding the number of professional staff, including women, at the airport had reached 40. Only two women would work at the airport in the past, he recalled.
Faizi said foreign troops had promised they would continue assisting the airport and would leave behind their equipment.
He said their future plan was to change the airport into an international transit airfield and refueling facility at the airport had increased its international importance.
There were no mountains nearby that could create problems for flights during landing and earthquakes also rarely occurred to damage the runway, he said.
The airport has 37 parking facilities which could be used for parking 250 airplanes at a time. Faizi said security inside and outside the airport had been satisfactory and the airport was more secure than other airports of the country. That was why besides domestic flights, the airport was used by airlines from India, Iran, Dubai and others, he added.
He said a Turkish airlines would start its flights to the Kandahar airport in the near future after the country opened a consulate in the province.
He said a big workshop would be opened at the airport on national level to repair every kind of domestic airplane. Currently faulty Afghan aircrafts are sent abroad for repair.
He said the Bahrain-based DHL Express had also started cargo flights to the Kandahar airport enabling Afghan traders to import commercial goods to Kandahar and export local goods to a number of foreign countries.
Faizi said their main effort was to encourage international airlines to start flights to the airport as an increase in international flights meant increase in international trust in the airport.
The Kandahar airport was built in the 1960s, when it was considered the region’s only international airport.
Spread over 650 acres of land according to its map, part of the airport is used by ISAF forces under an agreement with the Afghan government. A separate military base is built for the Afghan 205 Atal Military Corps besides buildings for some companies.
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