The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Air Arabia launched a new route from Sharjah to Afghanistan with the first flight landing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday morning.
On board were 168 passengers.
Afghanistan’s Consul General in Dubai Abdul Samad Afghan said with this new service by Air Arabia to Afghanistan, flight tickets will drop by about 40 percent between the UAE and Kabul. He also said they are hoping to see the costs drop further.
Afghan said Air Arabia is also looking to start cargo flights to Afghanistan in the near future – which will help boost imports and exports into the country.
“Cargo facilities will also be provided which is good news both for passengers and traders and it will play a good role in our exports and imports,” said Afghan.
Air Arabia officials said the airline will operate four times a week from Sharjah, to Afghanistan and that flying time will be 2 hours and 30 minutes. Flights will be on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
“Kabul is a new addition to our network that will meet the needs of thousands of people traveling between Afghanistan and the UAE as well as the wider region,” said Adel Al Ali, Group CEO of Air Arabia.
According to officials, Air Arabia will transport passengers from Sharjah to 150 cities in 50 countries.
Air Arabia officials in Afghanistan said the new service, lowering ticket prices and providing jobs for a number of Afghans, will help boost the country’s economy.
The flight costs between Kabul and UAE increased sharply in the past few years after a number of domestic airlines went out of business.
“The central office of the airline is in Sharjah and airplanes from here (Kabul) will land in Sharjah. For passengers who want to go to other cities such as Dubai or Al Ain, we have buses to transfer them,” Samim Ayoubi, Air Arabia representative in Afghanistan said.
A number of passengers who arrived in Kabul on Air Arabia from Sharjah on Thursday said they were happy with the service and the cheaper flights.
“A one-way ticket costs 1,300 or 1,400 Dirhams (about $350) for some airlines while Air Arabia charges 1,100 Dirhams,” Musa Jan, a passenger from Kabul said.
“We are very happy with Air Arabia, we had a pleasant journey,” Captan, a passenger from Ghazni said.