Afghan carrier unveils plan for aggressive expansion

Afghan carrier Safi Airways

Afghan carrier Safi Airways plans to aggressively expand in the coming three years and will approach Airbus and Boeing about aircraft purchases, its chief commercial officer said.

Business is growing, driven by demand, Joshua Bustos told a conference in Dubai.

“We’re going to speak to Airbus and Boeing to determine what’s available but we do plan an aggressive expansion,” he said.

Safi Airways is eyeing 10 to 20 narrow-bodied aircraft that will fly routes that are within a three-hour range from Kabul, destinations that will be immediately profitable for the carrier, Bustos said.

“Iran is on top of the list to go to, along with Kuwait,” he said, adding that Kazakhstan was also in its plans.

The airline plans to kick start expansion with cities that will turn a profit within the year, within a three-hour range from Kabul.

Aircraft types the airline is looking into include Airbus’ A319 and A320 and Boeing’s 737.

“We would like 10-20 aircraft within the next three years, depending on aircraft availability,” he said.

These would include the option to lease, he said.

The Kabul-based carrier continues to face an EU-ban, he said, and is working with the civil aviation regulator in Afghanistan and relevant parties to get the ban lifted.

The airline, however, complies with the International Air Transport Association’s Operational Safety Audit, an industry safety standard.

With a fleet of five aircraft, Safi Airways flies to three domestic and four international destinations, according to its website.

Owned by private Safi Group, the airline was founded in 2006.


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