By Matteo Giardini
Lufthansa Plans Airlift Services From Uzbekistan, Qatar
Lufthansa has announced it will begin supporting the German federal government with airlift services as a result of the instability in Afghanistan with special flight to Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Doha, Qatar. Within a few hours of the request by the German federal government, Lufthansa was able to organize itself to fly to the two destinations, which no airline in the Lufthansa Group currently flies to on a regular basis. Traffic rights for both Tashkent and Doha were applied for in short notice, along with both aircraft and crew deployment. Lufthansa plans to use the Airbus A340-300 for the airlift services. The airline currently has 17 Airbus A340-300 within its fleet, although some remain parked because of the pandemic. Furthermore, the aircraft have four configurations ranging from 251 to 300 passengers. However, the current configuration type for the aircraft is yet unknown.
The flights will provide evacuees the possibility to fly from the two destinations to Frankfurt, Germany. Diplomats and civilians are ferried to the two destinations by U.S. forces, which have secured the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Once out of the country, commercial airlines including Lufthansa then ferry the evacuees to their home countries from airports around the region. Lufthansa’s first flight already took place last night from Tashkent. A further two flights are planned from both destinations on Wednesday.
A U.S Air Force flight earlier this Sunday carried 640 people from Kabul to Doha, while the maximum amount of passengers carried by the C-17A Globemaster transport aircraft used by the U.S. forces in these instances was about 670.
The German federal government is not the only country evacuating its diplomats and civilian from Afghanistan. Various governments, including those of the United Kingdom, France, Australia and Italy, have begun evacuations. In addition, not only is the U.S. Air Force involved in transport passengers about of the country, but other military airlifts are being carried out by other NATO countries. For example, the Italian government, using a KC-767A tanker transport aircraft, ferried 74 passengers from Kabul to Rome on Aug. 16. The aircraft carried diplomatic and non-diplomatic Italian personnel as well as about twenty Afghan citizens. Further flights by the Italian government are planned.
Prior to the travel restricts, Lufthansa flew to four destinations in Central Asia, including Ashgabat, Turkmenistan; Baku, Azerbaijan; Nur-Sultan and Almaty, Kazakhstan from Frankfurt. While within the Middle East, the carrier flew to destinations including the likes of Beirut, Lebanon; Tel-Aviv, Israel; Amman, Jordan; Tehran, Iran; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Manama, Bahrain; Kuwait-City, Kuwait; Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia from Frankfurt. From Munich, the carrier flew exclusively to Tel-Aviv, Israel.