Turkish Airlines Returns to Kabul After 3-Year Hiatus

A Turkish Airlines A330 approaches to land.
Riik@mctr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a move seen as positive for Afghan-Turkish relations, Turkish Airlines has resumed commercial flights to Kabul after a hiatus of nearly three years.

The first flight touched down at Kabul International Airport on 21 May 2024, marking the return of a vital connection between the two countries.

This development comes after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, which led to the suspension of flights by most international carriers.

However, Turkish Airlines’ return signifies a renewed commitment to Afghanistan and potentially paves the way for increased trade and travel.

Four Scheduled Flights Weekly

To start, Turkish Airlines will be operating four flights per week between Kabul and Istanbul. These flights are scheduled for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, offering passengers more flexibility when planning their trips.

The flight service will be operated by the Turkish flag carrier’s widebody Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

The resumption of flights is expected to have a positive impact on the Afghan economy. Increased air traffic will not only benefit businesses involved in trade and tourism but could also create new job opportunities.

Strengthening Bilateral Ties

Cenk Ünal, the Turkish Ambassador to Kabul, emphasized the importance of this development for both nations.

He stated that Turkish Airlines’ return strengthens not just political ties but also commercial, tourism, and cultural relations between Afghanistan and Turkey.

Md Shaifuzzaman Ayon, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kabul: Looking Ahead

The return of Turkish Airlines is a welcome sign for Afghanistan’s reintegration into the global community.

With more airlines potentially following suit, Kabul’s international airport could once again become a busy hub connecting Afghanistan to the world.

Turkish Airlines isn’t the only airline restarting flights to Kabul. While commercial flight options are still limited, a few other carriers have also begun offering services:

  • Kam Air: Afghanistan’s largest private airline, Kam Air, has continued domestic operations throughout the past few years. They have also recently restarted some international routes, including flights to Dubai and Islamabad.
  • Ariana Afghan Airlines: The national airline of Afghanistan, Ariana Afghan Airlines, is currently working on resuming international operations. They are expected to announce new routes and schedules in the coming months.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
3 Min Read
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