UAE wins contract for ground operations at 3 Afghan airports

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The Islamic Emirate on Tuesday signed a contract for ‘ground handling’ operations with GAAC, a UAE-based company.

The contract was signed by the deputy minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Ghulam Jailani Wafa, and a representative of the GAAC company in the presence of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, first deputy prime minister.

Speaking at the ceremony during the signing of the contract, Mullah Baradar said that security is good in the country and the Islamic Emirate is ready to cooperate with investing countries.

With the signing of this contract, Baradar said that all international airlines will start their flights to Afghanistan in a safe and reliable manner.

After the Islamic Emirate swept into power, several rounds of negotiations have been held between with companies in Qatar, Tukey and the UAE over managing technicals operation of the Afghan airports.

“When we were in a critical and an emergency situation, the UAE helped us with technical cooperation and repaired the terminals for free,” said Ghulam Jailani Wafa, the Minister Transportation and Civil Aviation. “The GAAC company is an international company which provides the aviation services in the UAE itself.”

Afghan officials said the second round of negotiations over the running of Afghanistan’s airports has begun with a Qatar-Turkish company on Tuesday.

The Deputy Head of Civil Aviation, Ghulam Gilani Wafa, said the Afghan side will attempt to find the best choice when signing the contract.

The negotiations were held virtually due to the outbreak of the coronavirus Omicron variant.

“Today, we started online negotiations and they will continue until we reach a decision on the contract. We will start face-to-face negotiations if we feel it is needed,” said Ghulam Gilani Wafa.

The officials said they negotiated with United Arab Emirate’s company as well–to hand over the operations of Afghanistan’s five main airports–and the Islamic Emirate will ultimately choose one of the companies.

“Negotiations were held with a United Arab Emirates company as well, we talked over many issues at that time; later, Turkey and Qatar showed an interest and we will continue talks with these countries,” said Gilani.

This comes as international flights have not resumed with normal frequency through Kabul airport.

The Chamber of Commerce and Investment and Afghan businesspeople said that the business sector will face further harm if the situation continues.

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