Domestic Afganistan Flights Set To Resume

Afghanistan’s national carrier has announced the resumption of domestic flights within the country. The announcement was made on September 2nd by Ariana Afghan, which is operating flights out of cities like Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, and Mazar-I-Sharif. This move follows weeks of violence, with the worst conflicts located in Kabul and its airport as international forces evacuated refugees and foreigners.

Ariana Afghan 737
Ariana Afghan operates just four aircraft, including three Boeing 737s and one Airbus A310. Photo: Papa Dos via Wikimedia Commons 

On its website, national carrier Ariana Afghan Airlines posted the following message:

“We are returning to the sky. We would like to thank everyone for taking part in this occasion. We can’t express how much it means to us. Many thanks to all our attendants for attending our flight. You are an important customer for our Airline we sincerely appreciate your attendance.”

Flights operating after weeks of instability

The expedited withdrawal of international forces, particularly the US military, throughout much of 2021 gave way to Taliban forces sweeping across Afghanistan to capture much of the country. The most intense and heartbreaking scenes came in mid-August after the Taliban had entered Kabul, as thousands of foreigners and Afghans poured into Kabul Airport hoping to flee the country.

With an intense evacuation effort taking place before the agreed-upon August 31st deadline, Kabul airport’s flights were restricted to military operations- seeing aircraft types like the Boeing C-17A Globemaster III and Airbus A400M flying in and out, departing full of desperate civilians.

Now that the last foreign soldiers have left Afghanistan, the incoming Taliban government has been moving further to secure its newly acquired power over the country. Indeed, after weeks of fighting, the focus is now shifting to restoring certain parts of society, including domestic air travel.

Kabul Airport, Civil Aviation Reopen
Military aircraft from the United States, Germany, India, and the UAE were among those evacuating civilians.  Photo: Getty Images

Ariana Afghan’s domestic services

According to NDTV, domestic flights were set to resume in Afghanistan on Friday, September 3rd. On a message posted to its Facebook page, Ariana Afghan issued the following (translated) statement:

“Good news to the respected passengers of Mazar Sharif city! Ariana Afghan Air Company is proud to resume its flights to Mazar Sharif. Kabul – Mazar Sharif – Kabul. Tomorrow, Friday, 12 Virgo”

Ariana Afghan Airlines schedule
The posted flight statuses into and out of Kabul as of September 4th. Photo: Ariana Afghan Airlines

Flights between Kabul and Mazar-I-Sharif isn’t the only service being restored. According to the airline’s website, a number of routes are operating. For the capital of Kabul, this apparently includes service to Khost, Herat, and Kandahar.

Flight tracking is currently limited in Afghanistan. Thus, flight data has been scarce, making it difficult to verify these services are actually taking place.

A310 ariana afghan
Ariana Afghan has a single A310-300. It was last tracked flying to Pakistan. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Commons 

The Ariana Afghan fleet

The resumption of domestic services will ensure Ariana Afghan’s four aircraft are kept busy. This fleet consists of three Boeing 737s (two -400s and one -500) and one Airbus A310-300. The average age of the fleet stands at 28 years old, with the A310 clocking in at 32-and-a-half years old.

What do you think of this resumption of domestic flights? Let us know in the comments.