Afghanistan’s state-owned airline Ariana has expressed interest in beginning service to and from Pakistan and sought permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to start operations.

The airline approached the aviation regulatory body seeking permission to start two flights a week between Kabul and Islamabad.

The proposal further expressed hope that the “strained relations between the two states will improve”.

In its response, the CAA said that the “concerned authorities would decide on the proposal”.

Ariana is Afghanistan’s oldest and most recognisable airline. The carrier was founded back in 1955, flying to destinations globally using a fleet of Douglas DC-3s and -4s. Its route network spanned from Kabul to Delhi, Karachi, Beirut, Tehran, Frankfurt, and many more. In the late 1950s, Pan Am took up a 49 per cent stake in the airline to expand its portfolio.

However, the 1980s saw the airline collide with political tensions and civil war in Afghanistan. With international sanctions and a weak economy, the airline was set back decades in its development and mostly flew domestically in this period.

Currently, Ariana has a network for five cities Afghan from its hub in Kabul. This consists of Zaranj, Kandahar, Herat, Balkh, and Maimana. Internationally, the carrier flies to Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh, Ankara, Istanbul, Moscow, Urumqi (China), and New Delhi.


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