The Afghan Civil Aviation Authority (AfCAA) has ordered local carrier Safi Airways (4Q, Kabul) to suspend all operations following its failure to settle an outstanding tax bill.
The authority said in a statement the grounding order had come from the country’s Ministry of Finance on account of Safi Airways’ AFN1.152 billion afghani (USD17.28 million) tax arrears spanning the period 2011 to 2014.
Despite repeat attempts by the Ministry to settle the debt, even using an installment plan, the airline made no effort to resolve the issue. As such, the Ministry has since instructed its legal affairs department to prepare an attachment order application to help recover the funds owed. Should the carrier be able to raise the necessary funds, it can resume operations, the AfCAA has said.
ch-aviation research does, however, show that as of Tuesday, September 6, Safi Airways is still operating and has yet to suspend operations. The airline operates one B767-200(ER) alongside anA319-100 and an A320-200 leased from GECAS, on regular passenger flights to Herat, Kandahar, and Mazar i Sharif locally and Delhi Int’l, Dubai Int’l, Islamabad, and Jeddah regionally.
Earlier this year, the AfCAA warned Safi Airways, along with Kam Air (RQ, Kabul) and East Horizon Airlines (EA, Kabul), to settle their respective tax bills or risk the grounding of all flights. Afghanistan’s carriers have lobbied government to relax taxation on the sector claiming it stifles their operations and inhibits fleet renewal. Kabul has, in turn, said carriers should consider merging as a means of remaining economically viable.