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Afghanistan-India Air corridor flights resume after month delay

Afghanistan-India Air corridor flights resume after month delay

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Sep 16, 2017 - 14:22

KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): Cargo flights carrying fruits from southern Kandahar province to India started again after a months-long delay, officials said Saturday.

After the opening of Afghanistaninfo-icon-India air corridor, it was the second cargo flight from Kandahar province to India which departed on Friday evening.

Abdul Hanan Munib, provincial financial and administrative affairs secretary, told Pajhwok Afghan News the cargo plane was loaded with 40 metric tons of dry and fresh fruits.

He said the first cargo flight on June 24 had also exported 40 tons of dry and fresh fruits to India.

The cargo flights between Afghanistan and India had to be delayed due to some technical problems, but the process started again, he said.

The flights process would be accelerated and traders would be provided with all needed facilities for making the business through Afghanistan-India air corridor successful, said Munib., he, However, stressed on standard packaging of fruits.

Kandahar International Airport chief, Ahmadullah Faizi, told Pajhwok that he provided many facilities in the airport for Afghanistan-India air corridor.

“We have provided all needed facilities and personnel for protection, check and transportation of fruits in the airport and they are available 24 hours a day,” he said.

He also stressed on standard packaging of fruits and said substandard packaging consumed their time on checking.

Kandahar traders are happy over resumption of cargo flights, but they have some concerns as well.

A fresh fruit trader, Jalal Rahman Sharar, said: “Unfortunately the first cargo flights began when it was not the time of fruits harvests, and the second series of flights is also being started when grapes collection season is almost over.”

Traders purchased huge amount of apricots from gardeners when cargo flights first started to India, but later they were obliged to dry fruits they had purchased and wanted to export, he added.

Sharar said traders were still worried they would again face delay in cargo flights and would suffer losses.

He asked Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) officials to closely watch resumption of cargo flights to India and address problems if occurred during that process.

A number of other traders in Kandahar said they wanted the development of the Afghanistan-India Air Corridor, which they called painless and cost effective.

Land export of fruits take six days to reach India and a kilogram costs 60 cents while air export of fruits take only few hours and a kilogram costs 20 cents.

ACCI deputy head, Khan Jan Alokozay said six flights carrying 360 tonnes of fresh fruits (apricots, melons and grapes) and 100 tonnes of dried fruits and medicinal herbs were flown to India from Kabul and Kandahar province since the opening of the air corridor.

He said the flights were delayed due to some technical problems which has been resolved.

On June 19, President Ashraf Ghani formally inaugurated the Afghanistan-India Air Corridor in capital Kabulinfo-icon.

The aim of the air corridor is to develop commerce and economy and remove transit barriers between Afghanistan and India.

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