Afghanistan opens air cargo corridors with Europe, Russia, China and UAE

Afghanistan has opened a series of air corridors with Europe, Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Cabinet members of Afghanistan and multiple foreign diplomats attended the official ceremony at Hamid Karzai international airport Kabul on 27 September 2018.

Daily flights have now been scheduled to Europe to export domestic products from Afghanistan. The maiden flight took off on the day of the inauguration, carrying 21 tons of wool and nine tons of carpet to Italy, Finland and other European countries.

This adds to the growing list of air corridors with other nations, after prior agreements with India, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. In total, these corridors have transported more than 3,500 tons of domestic products from Afghanistan.

Deputy Spokesperson to the President Shah Hussain Murtazawi posted on his Facebook status: “As per available data, the export of Afghanistan to other countries was USD 514 million at the end of [2015], USD 612 million by the end of [2016], USD 784 million by the end of [2017] and to date USD 830 million. The Government aims to open air cargo corridors with a few more countries, which will further increase exports from Afghanistan. We will build cold storage [facilities], which will also help keep the products fresh before being exported.”

Khanjan Alokozai, deputy head of Afghan Chamber of Commerce, said that air cargo corridors have also helped increased domestic production. He hailed the opening of the Kabul-Europe air corridor as a big achievement for trade in Afghanistan. Officials said that exports from Afghanistan have increased by more than 32% in the last eight months.

Speaking during the official ceremony, European officials described the opening of the Kabul-Europe air corridor as a big opportunity for Afghan traders, as the vast European market is now open to them.

“It is a good news. Alongside strengthening trade relations, Europe is keen to buy Afghan agricultural quality products. There is no doubt that this trend is dramatically expanding because it is a mutual interest,” the EU ambassador to Kabul said.

TMP – 31/10/2018