KABUL, Afghanistan – Safi Airways is responding to the EU Commission ban on all Afghan registered aircraft by announcing intentions to acquire a European airline. By re-registering its fleet, Safi can again operate its own aircraft into European airspace and will bring its fleet under European aviation supervision. Until that time, Safi is operating its Kabul/Frankfurt route using wetleased aircraft.
A statement from Safi CEO, Werner Borchert, emphasized that, “Operating Safi Airways as a European airline is not such a major step for us. We have always operated our services in accordance with EU standards, and the Safi Group already has European subsidiaries. In fact, on many occasions, the EU Commission has confirmed that it does not see a safety risk in Safi’s operations. Our aircraft are maintained by Lufthansa Technik in Frankfurt, and we employ mainly European pilots, managers, and technical specialists. We wish to stress that we plan the official IOSA audit — a worldwide applied and recognized aviation German agency in January 2011.”
Several months ago, the European Commission demanded that Afghanistan develop its own Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to function in accordance with the international civil aviation standards established and controlled by the ICAO. As of November 23, the Afghan government had not complied, and all Afghan carriers were banned from EU airspace irrespective of the safety standards of the individual airlines.
Safi CCO, Claus Fischer, stressed that the EU ban is a serious setback for scheduled air traffic between Afghanistan and Europe. The route is a vital artery for diplomats, business travelers, employees of international aid agencies, and expatriate Afghans. “Our motto, ‘Bringing Families Together,’ is not only applicable for the expatriate Afghans, but also for the large number of Europeans and Americans living and working in Afghanistan. Since September we have been operating profitably during a low season at an 82% load factor on the Kabul/Frankfurt route. The temporary solution comes at a high cost to the airline… approximately US$.5 million per month. We hope the government realizes the burden on private aviation by its slow implementation of required standards.”
SAFI AIRWAYS EQUIPMENT:
The Safi Airways fleet is composed of one Airbus A340-300, one Airbus A320-200, one Boeing B767-200 ER, and two Boeing B737-300.
SAFI AIRWAYS ROUTE OVERVIEW:
Safi Airways is based on Kabul, Afghanistan, with offices in Dubai, UAE. The airline operates regularly scheduled flights between Kabul/Frankfurt and Kabul/Dubai.
Safi Airways (IATA Code 4Q) is the leading international airline of Afghanistan. Headquartered in Kabul and Dubai (UAE) is the first Afghan airline to be compliant with the safety standards of the international Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Safi Airways operates scheduled and charter services and offers cargo space on its flights. The senior management includes CEO Mr. Werner Borchert, CCO Mr. Claus Fischer, and Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Tom deGeytere who are all seasoned European airline experts. Bookings can be made online ( www.safiairways.com ) and through major GDS with all IATA travel agents worldwide.