Qatar Airways led the way to restoring international commercial flights today to Afghanistan, since the ban and the US exit, and landed in Hamid Karzai International earlier today, on 9 August 2021, carrying aid and picking up foreigners in Kabul and then transporting them to Doha.
Due to security issues, the collapse in the civil aviation authority in Afghanistan and lack of air traffic services, the US stopped all commercial flights, without prior authorisation, flying into Afghanistan on 31 August 2021 – the day the last of US troops evacuated the country.
This left the airport non-functioning and resulted in the Taliban resorting to seeking help from Qatar Airways, which has emerged as the frontier and key player in foreign international airline flights and paving the way for aviation diplomacy with the Tailbans in Afghanistan, post Kabul chaos.
The Qatar Airways Boeing 777 carried more than of 100 passengers and arrived in Doha this afternoon making a positive ‘first step’ to the rehabilitation of the Afghanistans civil aviation services.
The Taliban have cleared around 200 foreigners to leave, from many nationalities, including Canadian, Ukrainian, American and British citizens. Doha, has said it worked with Turkey to swiftly resume operations at Kabul’s airport to allow the flow of people and aid.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani praised the Taliban for allowing the flight.
The flight, operated by state-owned Qatar Airways, landed at Doha’s Hamad International Airport today.
“We managed to fly the first plane with passengers … we thank (the Taliban) for their cooperation … This is actually what we are expecting from the Taliban, to see these positive statements translated into action,” Sheikh Mohammed said on air.
“I think this is a positive message, that we are supporting.” He added.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement they are “grateful to our Qatari friends for facilitating a flight carrying thirteen British nationals from Kabul to safety in Doha today.
So is this good news for the commercial airline industry in Afghanistan? What do you think the next steps will be? Tweet us @thetravelradar or comment below. See our breaking news story on the Kabul terror last month here.