Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

The Challenges and Opportunities of Aviation Industry in Afghanistan

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The Challenges and Opportunities  of Aviation Industry in Afghanistan

In recent days, there was news circulating amidst local media as though a number of private laboratories issue fake covid-19 certificate to passengers. This issue has not only imposed negative effects on the number of aviation flights but also invalidated Afghan laboratories’ credibility. Fortunately, this issue was brought to the attention of second vice president, Amrullah Saleh, confessing in his face book account that such forgeries can inflicts a severe blow to Afghanistan’s shaky economy. According to him, in the last three months, 124,000 passengers had flown from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, but the fake laboratories results news have reduced the number of passengers. Based on jomhornews, two laboratories were identified that provided passengers with fake coronation certificates in the country. The abovementioned issue has raised serious questions why such blows are imposed on the countries’ aviation? Does it just link to corruption issue or there is also any political factor behind? 
This event happens in the country while countries’ aviation industry has taken some good steps towards development in few last years. It is said that the credibility of Afghanistan aviation has largely promoted in regional and international level. According to aviation authorities, about 64 small, local and international airports are operating under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Authority while it has experienced no big issues or incidents in recent years; based on aviation authority reports, Aryana and Kam-Air Airlines which are the two leading airlines of the country have obtained very good scores according to ICAO standards. Based on a technical reports quoted from Vafaeizadeh, the general director of the aviation department, the standard score of Kam-Air in Safa Ramp injection was higher than 7.5 in the past but based on the latest Safa Ramp Inspection, the Kam-air standard score has reached 0.00, while the EU standard is 2. The Safa Ramp Inspection is a highly credible quality standard which has 64 countries has its memberships. Given this valuable achievement, the government must not allow anyone to distrust the growing credibility of national aviation.
The next achievements which push us to become more cautious about national aviation are the new changes in progress or already made in the national airports. Based on local reports, there are several large-scale programs that either has been implemented or underway to improve the situation of Hamid Karzai international Airport and also there are a series of projects and program in provincial level such as in Bamyan airport, Farah airport, Urzgan airport, Khust airport, Jalalabad airport and Logar airport. Undoubtedly, the implementation of these projects will be good steps towards standardization and internationalization of aviation in Afghanistan. Given the central location of Afghanistan, it is hoped that these widespread changes, change the land locked position of the country to the center of world aviation in the future.
The last factor that pushes us to be more sensitive about aviation sector is the economic conflicts issue amongst aviation industry in the region. Given the new changes in credibility of national aviation and given the incidents happened in the sky of neighboring countries in recent years, now Afghanistan is able to collect more aviation taxes while before these taxes were collectively poured to the pocket of regional countries. Unfortunately, some of the neighboring countries successively made struggles to create barriers against economic exchange and trade activities of the country, but the establishment of aviation cargo in Kabul air-port and other provincial airport has largely neutralized those efforts in recent years. So, these achievements are very important to be seriously protected.
In general, the government should be more careful about security of aviation sectors and take more supportive policy against this industry to continue its progress because of different reasons:  firstly, given that Afghanistan is a mountainous country, it takes long time and huge amount of money to construct all connecting roads amidst 34 provinces while the aviation sector has already filled these gaps. Secondly, as Afghanistan is situated in the heart of Asia if the aviation industry develops in the country, a large amount of aerial taxes would be collected as big contribution to the shaky economy. Thirdly, this industry allows the traditional people of Afghanistan to rapidly get awoken with having adventures trips, build business relationships and visit friends and families around the world. Fourthly, the aviation sectors can reduce the level poverty and unemployment in the country. In global level, it is said that aviation supports 65.5 million jobs worldwide and enables $2.7 trillion in global GDP.  So, millions of jobs and millions of lives around the world are depended to the aerial industry. Given this importance, the progress and development of aviation industry must be brought to top priority of the country’s policy makers in Afghanistan.  In fact, the aviation industory is one of main factor behind acceleration of economic growth, international communication and overall development of the country.
As a last point, we need to remind the government that the aviation sector of Afghanistan has already passed a serious economic hardship during Quarantine and therefore, not ready to tolerate any second hardship. Although covid-19 was not so serious in Afghanistan comparing to other countries, it was not without economic implication on the aviation industry. According to a report quoted form Dr. Mohammad Ghasem Vafaeizadeh, the general director of the aviation department,  about $ 60 million a budget deficit was imposed into the country’s aviation revenue in the current fiscal year; and just the two major airlines of the country (Ariana and Kam-air) lost $ 40 million. So, it means that the countries’ aviation has just passed serious hardship despite some achievement as explained. Therefore, it is highly important to protect these gains and also compensate the losses.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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