The U.S. Transportation Command (USTranscom) has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new contracts for companies providing helicopter support in Afghanistan. Recipients include AAR Airlift, $151 million; Columbia Helicopters, $87 million; Construction Helicopters, $33 million; and HNZ Group, $6 million.
An inspector appointed by the U.S. Congress recommended that $772 million in contracts awarded by the Pentagon for 30 new aircraft to support an Afghan special aviation unit be suspended because the unit is unprepared.
ABC News reported June 9 that seven heavily armed Taliban fighters launched a pre-dawn raid on NATO’s Kabul Airport facilities, wounding two Afghan civilians. None of the seven guerrillas, all of whom were killed in the attack, managed to breach the airport perimeter.
Outsiders might assume that war is the biggest worry for Afghan carrier Safi Airways. But, according to Lloyd Carswell, Safi’s chief commercial officer, strong demand for its flights has presented the biggest challenge, largely due to constraints posed by inadequate capacity and facilities at Kabul Airport.
Responding to mounting criticism of civilian casualties caused by air strikes, the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) tightened the rules of engagement (RoE) last July.
For those who must travel to Afghanistan, handling company Sonic Jet is providing services at most of the country’s airports. These include arrangement of charters, passenger and cargo handling, flight plan filing and coordination, ground transportation, hotel reservations, fuel at “competitive” prices, overflight and landing permits and catering.
A report by the international Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization has put further pressure on U.S. and NATO air staffs and troops conducting air strikes in Afghanistan.