KABUL -- A United Arab Emirates (UAE) firm signed a contract with Afghanistan on Thursday (September 8) to manage air traffic across the country.
While some flights are operating out of Kabul airport, significant extra support is needed for major foreign airlines to resume full service.
The full operation of the capital's airport is seen as crucial to reviving Afghanistan's shattered economy.
On Thursday, Abu Dhabi-based GAAC signed an agreement that is expected to help bring back major international airlines to Afghanistan.
The contract is part of more than a $300 million investment that GAAC plans to invest in Afghanistan over a 10-year period to develop the country's aviation sector.
The deal enables GAAC to "operationalise airspace to allow the passage of international carriers", Ibrahim Moarafi, the company's regional director, told reporters at a news conference.
It also permits GAAC "to restore the navigation services required for the return of major international airlines to Afghanistan's airports", he said.
This includes air traffic control, communication and surveillance systems, and meteorological services.
3rd pact this year
The agreement is the third signed this year by GAAC with Afghanistan's Ministry of Civil Aviation and Transport.
GAAC, which has long operated in Afghanistan, has already won separate contracts for ground handling services and the screening of passengers at Kabul and other airports.
"Despite our two previous contracts, we still had some vacuum in our operations when it came to guiding flights crossing through Afghanistan's airspace," said Ghulam Jelani Wafa, deputy minister for aviation and transport.
"We were short of equipment, while some equipment was broken, and it [that situation] used to restrict our operations," he added.