From a bustling international and domestic airport, the popular Kabul Airport has become a base for military evacuations in the last three days. In spite of this, a number of commercial aircraft are still parked in Kabul that belong to Afghan airlines. Take a look at the current aircraft at Kabul Airport.
As of right now, seven commercial aircraft are parked at Kabul Airport, according to Flight Radar24.com All other planes have departed for foreign destinations and foreign airlines have pulled out (apart from some emergency flights). However, military aircraft have taken centre stage, rapidly evacuating diplomats, foreign nationals, and Afghan allies from the country.
The seven aircraft belong to three carriers. Kam Air currently has one A340 (YA-KMH) and two 737-300s (YA-KMJ and YA-KML) in Kabul. Flag carrier Ariana Afghan has one A310 (YA-CAV) and two 737-400s (YA-PIC and YA-PID). Finally, Bakhtar Afghan Airlines have a sole 737-500 (YA-FGA) sitting on the ground.
Several of these seven planes have been grounded since Sunday, 15th August, when the Taliban swept into Kabul. In response, the United States took over all operations at Kabul Airport, including security and air traffic control, and closed the airport off to commercial airlines. As of now, the future of these seven planes remains uncertain, as military aircraft now take precedence.
Kabul’s Airport Cancels Flights
In a statement released Monday, Afghanistan’s civil aviation authority announced that all commercial flights from Kabul’s airport have been cancelled.
“All the flights from Kabul airport have been temporarily cancelled and the passengers should not come to the airport until informed,’’ the statement said.
The cancellation of the flights took place in the wake of Kabul’s fall to the Taliban on Sunday and the mass migration of Afghans amid fear.
In the statement, the civil aviation authority expressed hope for an early return of normalcy, noting that the massive rush of passengers to the airport could lead to looting and other disorderly situations.
The civil aviation authority has been trying to resume the flights as soon as possible, the statement said.
The Taliban, meanwhile, told Kabul residents that their lives and properties are safe and that they can carry on with their work.
Int’l community urges Taliban to allow safe departure
The international community has urged the Taliban to allow Afghans and foreigners who wish to leave the country a safe passage.
A group of more than 60 countries made the call in a joint statement issued by the U.S. State Department, according to a report by the News agency of Nigeria.
“Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so.
“Roads, airports, and border crossing must remain open, and calm must be maintained,” the signatories said.
The signatories included Austria, Britain, Canada, Germany, Spain, and European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell.
“The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security, and dignity.
“We in the international community stand ready to assist them,” the statement added.
Taliban militants marched into the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday.
Germany, the United States, and other states evacuated their embassies and began to fly personnel out of the country.
Top Airlines rerouting flights to avoid Afghan airspace
After the Taliban took over Afghanistan, several airlines, including United Airlines, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Korea Air, and Singapore Airlines, have rerouted aircraft to avoid using Afghanistan’s airspace.
Afghanistan aviation officials have handed over air traffic control to the military and planes will be “flying in uncontrolled airspace at their own risk,” CNBC reported. As of last month, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits U.S. airlines from flying over Afghanistan airspace below 26,000 feet (well below cruising altitude) “based on a possible threat from extremist/militant activity and limited risk mitigation capabilities.”
“Due to the dynamic nature of the situation we have begun routing affected flights around Afghanistan airspace,” United said in a statement regarding its U.S.-India flights, adding that it “will continue to work closely” with the FAA and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) “to evaluate the situation and determine how we continue service to markets impacted.”
Other airlines, including Emirates and Flydubai, have suspended flights to Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul amid the turmoil. “Customers holding tickets with final destination to Kabul will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin,” according to Emirates.
In an alert published Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul reported that “the security situation in Kabul continues to change quickly, including at the airport. There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing U.S. citizens to shelter in place.”
US resumes Evacuation flights at Kabul airport
Diplomats and civilians were evacuated from Afghanistan as military flights resumed on Tuesday after the runway at Kabul airport was cleared of thousands of people desperate to flee following the Taliban’s capture of the capital, according to a report by Reuters.
Western security officials at the airport said the number of civilians had thinned out, following chaotic scenes in which U.S. troops fired to disperse crowds and people clung to a U.S. military transport plane as it took off.
At least seven people died in Monday’s chaos, including several people who clung to the sides of a jet as it took off.
In Washington, DC, US President Joe Biden said he stood “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and fired scorching criticism at the country’s former Western-backed leadership for failing to resist the Taliban.
“I stand squarely behind my decision,” he said in a televised address from the White House. “After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces.”
The Taliban have meanwhile declared the war in Afghanistan over and a senior leader said the group would wait until foreign forces had left before creating a new governance structure.