By Ross Lord in Kandahar:
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The Afghanistan state airline, Ariana, is reportedly on the brink of collapse.
A combination of mis-management, safety problems, and, corruption.
A bad indicator for Karzai’s post-Taliban government. And, an apparent setback for a country in desperate need of development
Ariana is better known to journalists as “Scariana” for our perilous experiences onboard.
Last year, en route from Kabul to Dubai, Grey Butler and I had our own anxious moments.
First, the plane seemed to barely get airborne enough to split the mountains near Kabul Airport.
No problem. Maybe we’re just a bit nervous from spending 3 weeks at Kandahar Air Field.
A few minutes later, a man in Ariana uniform walked down the aisle, stopping at our seats.
Then, wearing a nervous expression, he took a long look at the wing just outside our window.
Okay, this is not funny.
We survived covering the soldiers in and around Kandahar, and now, we’re going down in this airplane !
The man disappeared for awhile, and then, came back and did the same thing.
No wonder the United Nations won’t allow it’s staffers to fly Ariana, and, it’s banned from landing in the European Union.
But hey, we made it safely to Dubai — relating our story to our flight organizer back in Vancouver.
At that time, Ariana was the only option.
Now, we and other media fly into Kandahar (by-passing Kabul) with another airline.
The flight here was lovely.
And, the prospect of flying back, in a few weeks, is a bit less daunting than it otherwise would have been.
With some of the most powerful countries in the world eager for Afghanistan succeed, it will interesting to see if anyone steps forward to bail out Ariana.