Flying to Afghanistan could be a challenging trip. Whether you are operating a Medevac, a charter passenger or a cargo flight, you need to take into consideration several points. The hard weather changes, services limitations, security issues and airport day time operating hours must be considered for any operation.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
Military or Civil Apron
All major airports in Afghanistan have civil commercial side beside the military aprons which are controlled by ISAF. Depending on your final destination whether to civil or military apron, all arrangements from PPR, permits, fueling, handling will be different. The military aprons at OAKB, OAKN, OAHR, OAMS are 24/7 operational, however special military callsign and PPR should be approved. Civil Aviation landing permission is not required for RS missions operating under ISAF callsign and have a valid PPR. OAIX Bagram is military airbase controlled by USAF; there is no civil side at this airport.
Airports of Entry
All four major airports in Afghanistan OAKB, OAKN, OAHR, and OAMS are airports of Entry. Immigration and customs are available but during day time only. Recently, only KBL/OAKB has 24/7 CIQ available. However, you need to get confirmation from your handling agent that immigration will be open at the time of arrival if you are planning to operate during night time to OAKB.
Night Operation restrictions
Civil side of all airports in Afghanistan is restricted. It is open only during day time. No overnight is allowed unless approved according to your landing permission and PPR.
When operating to any Afghani airport (other than OAKB civil side) keep in mind that you require mil PPR approval in addition to the Civil Aviation Landing permission. The PPR is valid only for 30 min change, in case of schedule change/delay, the PPR must be re validated. Obtaining military PPR has especial procedure; starting from obtaining especial military call sign NAG through the concerned ISAF authorities, to submitting the MRF/PPR application forms.
Ground Handling, Fueling
except OAKB, the remaining airports civil side are poor in Equipment, for example OAKN, OAHR, have no MDL or cargo offloading equipment. Military aprons and handlers have all necessary equipment but these cannot be brought to the civil side. Please keep in mind that military apron and tower doesn’t have civil flight plan filling system. Fueling at the military side is done by the military fuel supplier after providing fuel authorization to receive tax-free fuel. Otherwise any flight operating to military need to get permission tower to taxi to civil for refueling. Sometimes due to security procedures the civil fuel supplier is not allowed to work during night time.
Overnight & Airport Security
Overnight is not allowed by the civil aviation authorities unless your PPR / Landing permission allow you to park and overnight. Airport security is controlled by the military ISAF forces, therefore private guards are not allowed. Usually the security is high at the airports.
Crew GENDEC and Visa
All crew can enter for 72 hours on Gendec on condition that they carry their passports and airline IDs, their names are on a stamped GenDec, and coming with airlines uniform. Visa on arrival is NOT possible in Afghanistan. All passengers should obtain visa from the concerned Consulate or Embassy in their countries, if they intend to leave the airport.