Afghanistan

Control of Afghan airports handed to UAE firm

Written by The Frontier Post

KABUL (Pajhwok): Control of Afghanistan’s airports was handed over to a firm based in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday. A statement from the prime minister’s office said a memorandum of understanding was signed Tuesday in Kabul “for the control and management of airports in Afghanistan.
The MoU was inked by First Deputy Prime Minister Abdul GhaniBaradar and Razack Aslam Mohammed AbdurRazack of GAAC Solutions Dubai. The agreement came after months of negotiations with the UAE, Turkey and Qatar on the sensitive issue. Mullah HamidullahAkhundzadah, transport and civil aviation minister, said that GAAC Solutions is an international company experienced in the civil aviation area and manages airport operations in a number of countries including UAE.
He said that the company had a contract about airport management with the previous administration, but the contract was expired three months before regime change in Afghanistan in August last year. The new caretaker government had verbally extended the contract period with GAAC Solutions till now, but the company would start ground services to airplanes in Kabul, Kandahar and Herat airports from today, he added.
Akhundzadah said that the contract would be valid for the next one and a half years. In response to a question regarding non-recognition of the current caretaker government of Afghanistan by the UAE and the contract, he said, “It is a commercial and services contract with a company, there may be no need for a company to recognize a country, each company has its own standards, it can sign agreement with us or we can sign agreement with it.”
Without giving details, he said, “As the agreement is in partnership, the amount of money we pay is unclear, expenses are paid from revenue and the income is divided based on the agreement, it means that we do not pay them.” This comes as the new caretaker government was previously talking with Qatar and Turkey for Afghanistan’s airports management.
Turkish foreign minister in May 2021 had said that Turkey and Qatar were ready to take responsibility of the airports in Afghanistan and waiting for the Afghan government’s agreement. Akhundzadah said that his ministry had been in talks with Turkey and Qatar to assist Afghanistan in the airports area but no an agreement has so far reached with them.
He said that discussions with the two countries were underway to provide their assistance in other areas in Afghanistan. RazackAslam Mohammed Abdur Razack, a representative of GAAC Solutions said that they would remain committed to implementing their promises. “We hope international airlines would resume their flights to Afghanistan,” he said.
Ghulam Jailani Wafa, deputy transport and civil aviation minister, told reporters that they hoped international airlines would start their flights to Afghanistan after today’s agreement. He said, “We have 50 to 60 flights from Afghanistan air space in 24 hours, all the revenue generated from these flights goes to the government,” he said.
Deputy prime minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar during the signing ceremony of the agreement, stressed good relations with all countries and asked domestic and foreign countries to invest in Afghanistan. He said that 80 percent of security had been ensured in Afghanistan and countries interested in investment in Afghanistan would be given security assurance of anything. Baradar said that Afghanistan was ready to discuss contracts in areas of mines extraction and airport services with foreign countries.

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The Frontier Post