Herat runway extension improves airport capacity

Herat runway extension improves airport capacity

KABUL, Afghanistan – The Kabul vice minister of transportation and the governor of Herat attended a ceremony commemorating the completion of the Herat Airport runway extension, Feb. 17.

The Afghan authorities were welcomed by Italian Brig. Gen. Marcello Bellacicco, Regional Command West commander, and Spanish Col. Jaime Martorell, Herat Forward Support Base commander.

The runway extension was funded by NATO with the goal of improving the capacity and the future of the Herat Civilian Airport and meeting the military needs of the International Security Assistance Force.

“I think the extension of this airport makes it a true runway to receive any variety of airplanes. Economically, it saves a lot of money and culturally it’s a milestone for making Herat one of the hubs of development in the country,” said Herat Gov. Dr. Daoud Saba. “We hope that in the future Herat airport will serve as a hub for cargo in Afghanistan for its access to southern, northern and central provinces of the country.”

The new runway is approximately 9,840 feet (3,000 meters) long, enabling even the largest civilian aircraft to take off and land. The project was completed four months ahead of schedule.

“During 2010, Herat airport had 35,296 air movements and almost 700,000 passengers, 552,550 civilian and 74,736 military, which represented double air operations than 2009,” Martorell said. “For 2011, more than 50,000 air movements are expected, as January and February are showing a trend of 36.45 percent increase from similar period during 2010.”

Reconstruction of Herat City Airport has been ongoing for about two years. This runway extension and the other construction planned during the comings months are intended to consolidate Herat as the second international airport in Afghanistan.

The future projects for the airport include construction of a NATO-funded taxiway that will allow larger wingspan aircraft to operate at the airport, an air traffic tower, a radar and precision approach system, new parking for passengers and paving the apron surface.

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