Minister of Finance Zakhilwal signed a Soft Loan Agreement of Euro 29.3 million (USD 38 million) with H.E. Ambassador Michele Valensise, the Secretary General of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the upgrade of Herat international airport.
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 of Afghan authorities.
Dr. Zakhilwal also visited the Herat Mastoofyat and the Herat custom office. He thanked the Herat Mastoofy and his subordinates for delivering good services to people. During the visit to the Herat custom office, he called on the custom director and his employees to take the fight against corruption seriously.
The upgrading project of Heart international airport will be managed by the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) and is part of the Civil Aviation Plan of the Afghan government, which in the coming months shall see the hand-over 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 four international
irports in Afghanistan, alongside Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar. Currently, the airport manages approximately 350,000 passengers a year, mainly for domestic flights. By opening it to international traffic that number could be increased to 1,000,000. The establishment of international destinations (The United Arab Emirates, Turkey, 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: Phase 1 is already ongoing and includes the refurbishing of existing facilities to provide the staff with a 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.
has strongly supported the development of Herat airport in the past, both by providing personnel to operate it and by improving its facilities. The new terminal was built by the Italian-led PRT giving Herat a good facility to run passenger traffic.
This upgrade project reaffirms the Italian commitment toward Afghanistan and Herat Province, complementing other important projects, such as the Herat Bypass – a project worth USD 32 million – with construction starting this year, and the Herat to Chisht-e-Sharif road, for which an Italian Soft Loan worth Euro 92.2 million has already been approved.