The Ariana Afghan Airline’s newly Taliban-appointed Chief Executive Officer has the airline’s intention to restart the international flights to Delhi Int’l during the latter part of September 2021. The Taliban-appointed CEO of the airlines shared the news of their plans to restart the flight service with Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency on September 10th, 2021.
In August, the Senior Manager at the Ariana Afghan Airlines, Tamim Ahmadi, revealed that the airlines had received a green signal for its operation from the Taliban. The aviation authorities had started planning the flight schedules and destinations for the flag carrier and the largest airlines in Afghanistan.
The head of the airlines, Qari Rahmatullah Gulzad, relayed the prompt start of the airlines has been only possible due to the support provided by technical teams from Turkey and Qatar. The technical teams helped the airlines to rebuild and secure the Kabul airport following the collapse of the government back up by the United States on August 15th, 2021 and take over by the Taliban. Gulzad further added the Qatari and Turkish teams would continue to work together on the Kabul airport for another month to bring international setting standards for the passenger’s support and comfort.
The domestic flights in the country from Kabul to Herat, Kandahar, and Mazar-e-Sharuff had resumed on September 4th, with the negotiation for the international travel routes. The goal of the negotiation with the Taliban was to resume flights for both humanitarian aid and to provide freedom of movement, including the resumption of the evacuation effort in the country.
Both domestic and international travel routes had been disrupted from Afghanistan since the Taliban took over the Capital on August 15th. The major airline companies like United Airlines, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic stopped the use of Afghanistan airspace since the takeover of the Afghani capital by the Taliban and the departure of the US-led force. Similarly, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air France KLM, China’s Taiwan’s China Airlines, and Lufthansa followed suit and stopped suing the airspace in the Afghani regions.
The sudden abandonment of the Afganhtian’s airspace affected the airlines operating from the region pretty harshly, the Air France’s six routes like Bangkok, Delhi, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh, Mumbai, and Madras have been affected by the disruption. Similarly, Lufthansa flights to India and some other destinations had to be extended up to 1 hour due to not getting affiliated with the Aghangi airspace, a move that significantly increased the fuel cost of the airlines. The Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority(ACAA), in a notice to airmen on August 16th, had updated their website saying that any transit through the Kabul airspace, which covers all Afghanistan, would be uncontrolled due to the Taliban’s takeover of the capital. The update further included, “Kabul airspace has been released to the military. Advise transit aircraft to reroute.”
“Any transit through Kabul airspace will be uncontrolled. Surrounding FIRs (air traffic control regions) have been advised.”
But, it was not specified which military had been taking control over the airport in the update. The airlines that been operating through the transit points and airspace in the country had to immediately pull out their service or transit through other airspaces nearby. Some of the flights that were on air turned around right after the announcement; Flightradar24 showed the Air India’s flight from Chicago to Delhi changed course exiting Afghanistan’s airspace after entering it shortly, diverting to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates for refueling. Another Terra Avia flight from Baku to Delhi course did the same after the announcement of the ACAA.