A Qatar Airways B777300/ER (Registration a7-BEO), had arrived in Kabul today with aid. It left Kabul to fly to Doha, Qatar, with passengers including many foreigners.
Qatar Airways A7-BEO Boeing 777 landed in Kabul, Afghanistan today, reportedly carrying 200 foreign nationals pic.twitter.com/edhgkU0UDM IntelOmarion (@IntelOmarion) September 9, 2021
The last US-led plane carrying soldiers left Kabul on Aug 31. All civil aircraft were prohibited from flying above the Afghanistan air corridor without permission.
Because of the absence of civil aviation authorities in Afghanistan and lack of air traffic services, US civil operators and pilots are not allowed to operate at high altitudes over large parts of Afghanistan. FAA statement
After the US pulledout, the airport became non-operational. The Taliban sought technical assistance from Qatar. Qatar emerged as a major player in the US-led evacuation effort.
Kabul Airport Operations are Restored
Qatari and Turkish technical team have restored operations to the airport that was damaged in chaotic evacuations of thousands of people to meet US troop withdrawal deadline on August 31.
It is an historic moment in Afghanistan's history, as Kabul's airport is now fully operational. Although we have faced many challenges, we are now able to say that the airport can be used for navigation.
The airport is ready to operate at about 90%, but it will reopen gradually according to Mutlaq al Qahtani (Qatar's special envoy for Afghanistan).
A Charter Flight
Al-Qahtani stated earlier that the Qatar Airways plane would be Kabul's first international commercial flight since the American forces left the country at the end August.
You can call it whatever you like, a charter flight or a commercial flight. Everyone has tickets and boarding passes. Al-Qahtani stated from the tarmac that Friday would see another flight. It is possible that life in Afghanistan is now more normal.
Al Jazeera was told by Alex Macheras, an aviation analyst, that it was a charter flight.
He said that this is not a commercial flight in which the airline sells tickets to paying passengers as part a schedule.
Instead, the government has paid the airline, who in coordination with other countries, offers almost rescue tickets to those who can't fly charter flights or operate individual, one-off special charter flights. This is what happens when bad weather strikes, when airlines go out of business, and so forth.
Although technical teams from Turkey and Qatar have completed repairs to Kabul's runway, radar equipment, and airport infrastructure, Kabul still lacks a foreign security presence. This is vital if foreign airlines plan to return to Afghanistan for passenger/cargo operations. Alex Macheras (@AlexInAir) September 9, 2021
Cover image: The Associated Press