News - Afghanistan
Officials from the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) on Friday announced that the European Union (EU) is expected to lift a long-held ban on Afghan aviation services by the end of 2015.
If the EU ban is lifted, Afghan airlines will be able to fly to European destinations, which they are disallowed from doing now.
Air travel in Afghanistan has grown significantly in the past decade, with the likes of global power-house airlines such as Emirates starting service to Kabul. However, much of the progress made in the sector has been thanks to the tireless efforts of the Afghan government and its private sector partners.
According to MoTCA officials, Afghanistan has successfully completed six out of the eight preconditions set by the EU for having the ban lifted.
Establishing the Afghan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA); ratifying new aviation laws; improving technical training in the aviation sector; creating an aviation sector database; preventing temporary companies from providing air services; and boosting overall services by utilizing standardized equipment and methods were all high priority demands made by the EU that have been met.
Still, there is more work to be done. "We are determined to consult domestic companies and identify their problems so that we can get off the EU blacklist," Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Mohammadullah Batash said on Friday.
Officials say getting access to European markets will be a major boon for Afghan airlines. "Removing Afghanistan from the EU blacklist will pave the way for positive competition between domestic companies and this will help us overcome challenges," head of Hamid Karzai International Airport Mohammad Yaqoub Rassouli said.
The Afghan aviation sector was blacklisted by the EU five years ago in light of repeated instances of mismanagement and irregularities.