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Afghanistan overflights on the rise as airlines avoid Iran airspace

AT News

KABUL: In the wake of heightened tensions in the Middle East and Iran’s shaky security situation, the international airlines are re-routing flights from Iran and diverting them to Afghanistan airspace.

The overflights from Afghanistan airspace has increased 25 percent amid airlines’ fading trust on Iranian security, Head of Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority said.

Mohammad Qasim Wafayezada said in a tweet that the International Civil Aviation Organization and International Air Transport Association had requested Afghanistan and other countries in the region to help facilitate more overflights.

Economically beleaguered Afghanistan earned an estimated $66 million last year simply by allowing 261 foreign aircraft every day to cross its airspace en-route to other destinations.

Wafayezada said Afghanistan now has the capacity and equipment to manage the increasing overflights and to undertake a more efficient role in managing airspace traffic and regional air traffic system.

International Civil Aviation Organization has already agreed to a $250 increase in overflight fees from Afghanistan – which will be in effect as of July 2020 – a rise from $700 to $950.

This development is due to a recent agreement with a French company to install a 112 million Euro state-of-the-art radar system.

This is as several airlines said last week that they would be avoiding Iranian airspace and rerouting to Afghanistan following Wednesday’s crashing of a Ukrainian passenger plane near Tehran, killing all 167 people onboard.

Iranian government later confirmed that they have mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian jet because of miscalculation after the place entered a highly sensitive area amid a high security alert.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated dramatically after a top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was killed last week in a US air strike in Iraq.

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