Govt to Act on Afghan Airliner Still Grounded in Russia

An Afghan airliner from the state-owned Ariana Afghan Airlines has remained grounded in Russia for the last 16 days on charges of skipping a customs process in Sheremetyevo international airport in Moscow.

Sources told TOLOnews that based on Russia’s customs laws, airliners that leave Russia by skipping the customs process will face millions of dollars in fines.

A letter dated Feb. 7, 2021, sent by Afghanistan’s Civil Aviation Authority to the Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia, has asked that the issue regarding the Boeing 737 that operates for Ariana Afghan Airlines be addressed.

The Afghan civil aviation authority said the grounding of the airliner by Russia is in contravention of aviation regulations and they will seek the International Civil Aviation Organization’s help if the issue is not resolved.

“In a letter, we made our request clear to the Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia to take immediate action regarding Ariana Afghan Airline’s plane,” the head of the Afghan civil aviation authority Mohammad Qasim Wafaeezada said.

“It has been decided that the Afghan government will assign a defense lawyer, if needed, and continue the case in court,” Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar said.

Ariana Afghan Airlines officials did not comment on the matter but admitted that the case of the airliner has been sent to Russia’s court.

Ariana Afghan Airlines has two operating planes. Sources from the company said the grounding of the third airliner will cause financial damage to the company.