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Herat Airport Gets Enough Funds To Develop

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Monday February 17, 2014
Kabul (BNA) The Government of Italy and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan signed a Soft Loan Agreement for Euro 29.3 million ($38 million) for the upgrade of Herat international airport.
The agreement was signed by Ambassador Michele Valensise, the Secretary General of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Omar Zakhilwal Minister of Finance during a public ceremony held in Herat on the 11th of February 2014.
It marks a significant milestone in the realization of the new airport in support of the development of International aviation in Afghanistan under direct ownership by Afghan Authorities. The project will be managed by the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) and is part of the Civil Aviation Plan of the Afghan Government, which shall see in the coming months the handover of the airspace and of the management of airports to Afghan Authorities.
Thanks to the soft loan, the airport of Herat will become one of the four International airports in Afghanistan, alongside Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar. Currently, the airport manages approximately 350,000 passengers a year, mainly for internal flights.
By opening it to international traffic it is believed that number could be increased to 1,000,000. The establishment of international destinations (The United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Saudi Arabia) is of paramount importance not only for the development of Herat province but of the region and country as a whole.
An operational airport offers a tangible service to the local population and business community, an opportunity for employment and an important source of revenue. The upgrade project includes the provision of infrastructures, equipment and vehicles needed to run the airport.
The airport long-term development foresees three Phases: Phase1 is already undergoing and includes the refurbishing of existing facilities to provide the staff with proper working environment. During Phase 2, funded under the Agreement signed today, the ACAA will, with Italian assistance, set up a new control tower with a weather station and all necessary modern communication devices. A new VOR (VHF Omnidirectional Range) is going to be installed together with a new PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicator).
The set-up of an ILS (Instrument Landing System) is also under study, allowing aircrafts to land even with fog or low visibility. Moreover, new fire trucks, fire-suits and extinguishers are going to be provided. Phase 3 will see a future development of the airport, to be defined depending on the results of a feasibility study to be carried out during Phase 2. Italy has strongly supported the development of Herat airport in the past, both by providing personnel to operate it and improving its facilities. The new terminal was built by the Italian led PRT giving Herat a good facility where to run passenger traffic.
This upgrade project reaffirm the Italian commitment toward Afghanistan and Herat Province complementing other important projects, such as the Herat By-pass-a project worth US$ 32 million-with construction starting this year, and the Herat to Chisht-i-Sharif road, for which an Italian Soft Loan worth Euro 92.2 million has already been approved.     

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