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Press Releases 2010

Kabul International Airport Inaugurates State-Of-The-Art Radar System

Feb 3, 2010 | Kabul

The completed installation of a state-of-the-art radar system at Kabul International Airport was marked by Karl W. Eikenberry, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mohammadullah Batash, Acting Minister of Transportation, and David Grizzle, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, during a ceremony next to the flight line today.

The Approach Control Radar doubles the range of the previous technology, enabling air traffic controllers to “see” aircraft within 120 miles of Kabul.  In addition to improving safety for passengers traveling to and from Kabul, the radar facility will also increase the capacity of the airport, allowing 24-hour, 7-days-a-week aircraft operations in all but the most extreme weather. 

Installed by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration with financial support from USAID, the Government of Afghanistan now provides world-class air traffic control services to the Afghan people at their main international gateway. 

 “As someone who remembers the dilapidated state of this airport eight years ago, when it lacked working runway lights and almost every other type of basic equipment,” Ambassador Eikenberry recalled, “I can say that the transformation of the airport is truly an impressive achievement by the airport leadership and the government of Afghanistan – one that the United States is proud to have supported.” 

Since 2001, flights at KIA have increased from 20 per day to 300 per day, and that number is set to increase further as infrastructure such as this radar system are brought on-line.

To support the installation of the new technology, the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, with its partner the Federal Aviation Administration, has completed basic training of 11 Afghan air traffic controllers and 6 maintenance technicians.  The United States Government will train additional Afghans to operate and maintain this facility; basic, advanced and on-the-job training of the Afghan students will continue until at least 2011.  “We look forward to the day,” Deputy Administrator Grizzle noted, “when the radar is operated exclusively by Afghan professionals.  So this radar and these Afghan trained professionals are an indication of our commitment to you.”

The Afghan commercial aviation industry is an economic success story:  Afghanistan now has with three privately-owned carriers and State-owned Ariana Airlines serving the region and the world, and 300,000 tons of air freight passed through Kabul International Airport each year.  This radar facility will allow the airlines to continue to grow, expanding operations at KIA to encourage greater economic development.