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Ariana Afghan Airlines adds 727 in fleet rebuilding

Ariana Afghan Airlines has doubled its fleet to two Boeing 727s as it continues its efforts to rebuild. The airline is steadily re-instating international services.

In January more than two years of international sanctions were lifted by the United Nations, allowing Ariana to resume flights outside Afghanistan.

The carrier lost most of its aircraft in the US-led air strikes launched on Afghanistan after the September terrorist attacks in the USA. Until recently the airline had only one 727 operational.

In early May, however, Ariana acquired an ex-American Airlines 727-200Adv. The airline says that the aircraft was acquired through Miami, Florida-based J Taylor Investment.

The addition of the 24-year-old tri-jet allowed Ariana last week to add services to Amritsar, its second Indian destination after New Delhi. It has also resumed services to Islamabad in Pakistan, and to Dubai and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Ariana has been operating limited domestic services since December. Until recently it had one operational aircraft dedicated to internal services, an Antonov An-24, but this is no longer airworthy.

The airline is now considering the addition of services from Kabul to Frankfurt, London, Paris, Moscow and Istanbul after it expands its fleet.

India's government said early this month that it would donate Air India's three remaining Airbus A300B4s to Ariana, with the first due to arrive shortly. Air India crews will be temporarily seconded to Ariana to help Afghan pilots convert to the type.

The carrier says "our business has been good" since international services were re-started in January, and "for sure we will fly to Europe again".

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