GAAC’s Contract Ensures World Can Support Afghanistan Navigate Through Tough Times

With the looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), through the General Aviation Airport Coalition (GAAC), has cleared one of the major hurdles to reach the affected population through its airports while also bearing the cost of reconstruction of its devastated airports.

As the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan deepens and the scarcely connected landscape of the country further limits access to those in need, the major source of quick and effective connectivity, airports, have started its operations thanks to the UAE-based GAAC.

The GAAC signed a contract to provide security, advanced technology systems, and ground handling services for all international airports in Afghanistan to assist the country to start flight operations at all of its airports.

The GAAC contract with the Afghan government includes security service at Hamid Karzai International Airport, the major international airport in the country in Kabul that connects it with the world as well as other international airports located in Herat, Balkh, and Kandahar.

The coalition’s contract also covers providing ground handling services in Kabul, Herat, and Kandahar airports.

Meanwhile, the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad, Pakistan. Under the Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths highlighted the extent of the crisis in Afghanistan.

The Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs told the meeting that that by the middle of 2022, universal poverty could reach 97 percent of the population. He also told the meeting that within a year, 30 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP could be lost altogether, while male unemployment may double to 29 percent.

With Afghanistan’s economy in freefall, a large proportion of the population faces hunger and lack of work. According to the United Nations, around 23 million people face starvation with a large percentage of children in healthcare facilities because of malnourishment and a large number of people working without salaries.

After the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, no international airline was willing to continue flights to the new Taliban regime-led country. However, the GAAC stepped up to provide world-class security and flight operations services so that the devastated country remains connected to the world.

Under these circumstances, aid remains one of the only ways to stop an imminent crisis for Afghanistan, which is not possible without working air traffic to the country.

The GAAC took the challenge of making the airports of the country operational at the level at which international airline operators would be comfortable operating flights to the country.

GAAC activated an air bridge corridor so that humanitarian aid could reach Afghanistan at the beginning of September 2021.

GAAC restored airports in the country, which were damaged after the US withdrawal from the country. Repairs were estimated to cost an estimated US $1 million, which were borne by the UAE as assistance for the devastated country.

The UAE has continued to send assistance in the shape of various projects, including healthcare and food assistance, but most of all UAE is helping build infrastructure to make Afghanistan self-sufficient, and helping make its airports operational is one of the most significant milestones in this regard.

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