KABUL: Traders have said that problems have largely been resolved and over 80 tons of fresh fruit flew out of Kabul on Thursday for India.
After a 17-day delay, the fifth cargo flight carrying over 80 tons of fresh fruit left Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday, bringing new hope that flights between Afghanistan and India will now take place on a regular basis.
A number of fresh fruit exporters said government should ensure that these flights are carried out as scheduled from now on. Thursday’s freight consisted of 60 tons of melon, 15 tons of grapes and 5 tons of apricots. This is the fifth cargo flight to India since the inauguration of the route in early July.
“Four cargo flights will be conducted every month, if more flights are needed, we are fully prepared for the operations,” said Younus Mohmand, deputy of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI). Meanwhile, officials of Kam Air Aviation company, which is responsible for the aircraft used, have said that its Boeing-737 plane has the capacity to transport 100 tons of fruit at a time.
“The plane which we chartered is able to fly anywhere in Asia and Europe, but the chamber of commerce and industries and fruit exporters should ensure that they have markets outside the country; we don’t have any problem to transfer their products,” said Hajji Raqi, an official from Kam Air.
A number of businessmen have said that in view of exporting more local produce and goods, government should ensure there are world class cargo services available at Hamid Karzai International Airport and other airports around the country.
“The fruit should be transferred as soon as possible, the airport should be equipped according to (international) standards, in that case they would have the ability to keep the fruit fresh for 24 hours,” said local businessman Atta Mohammad Mohammadi.
According to ACCI, problems faced by exporters recently have been resolved. The Afghan government has announced a 17 percent subsidy for cargo flights to India. Traders hope however that government will keep this up.