Afghanistan to Open Third International Airport in Early 2012
The decision to build Mazar-e Sharif International Airport, located near the capital of Balkh Province in northern Afghanistan, was made in 2008 and is part of a development project to bring five international airports to Afghanistan.
Currently, in addition to four major domestic airports, Afghanistan has two international airports in Kabul and Kandahar. The new airport, NATO believes, will assist locals with trade and transporting goods throughout Afghanistan.
“It is an economic center for Afghanistan,” NATO cited Thomas Herzberg, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau Entwicklungsbank representative and project coordinator, as saying. “This airport is a great way of increasing economic trade for the Afghan people. From north to east Afghanistan, it is the center point for more than four million people.”
Mazar-e Sharif is already host to more than 100,000 passengers per year and NATO believes it will see more than 400,000 passengers per year when the airport is completed in January 2012.
“Construction of the airport is employing hundreds of local Afghans to lay foundation, construct more than five buildings and maintain the airport,” NATO said. “A new terminal, repairs to the old terminal, a security building and a fire response building are some of the projected projects.”
In addition to passengers, Mazar-e Sharif International Airport will also work in conjunction with a new rail system which is located several miles (kilometers) away. This rail system was recently build in support of economic growth and is being used to bring in construction supplies to the airport.
“The airport, together with the rail way station, will bring a real economic boost to Mazar-e-Sharif,” Herzberg added. “All around the airport people can see that trade centers are building up. This just goes to show what kind of positive impact this has on northern Afghanistan.”