Ariana Afghan Airlines (FG, Kabul) is planning to buy three A330-200s including one dedicated freighter, tender documents for the Taliban-controlled national carrier have shown.

According to the terms of the RFP, Ariana wants:

  • three A330-200s that are no older than 20 years of age and which must not be due for a C check within the next six months or else must have at least 1,000 flight hours remaining to their next C check (whichever occurs first);
  • General Electric CF6-80E-powered jets whose engines have at least 3,000 flight cycles remaining;
  • each aircraft's three landing gears should have at least four years remaining until their next overhaul.

No preference for cabin configuration was given with only a "standard" economy/business layout required.

Only offers submitted by aircraft owners / operators / leasing companies, resellers, sellers, selling agents and intermediaries / brokers who have the legal right to sign the final sales agreement will be considered.

Delivery of the aircraft will take place in either the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or Turkey within 60 days of the signing of a final agreement.

Bids are due by 2359L (1929Z) on July 8.

Since the Taliban took power last year, Ariana has been trying to renew and grow its fleet given a surge in revenue inflows. Last week, chairman Mohammad Nader Omar told local media that the airline is now in the final stages of acquiring a B737-500 - believed to be msn 27634, formerly EW-251PA with Belavia (B2, Minsk National) - with the only thing left to do being the provision of a bank guarantee for USD4.5 million.

"It is a good airplane for those destinations where Ariana conducts flights," he said. "From a capacity and marketing perspective, the -500 can fly easily, because we have had experience with these planes in the past including the B737-400 and we do not need additional training for our engineers and pilots."

Ariana's fleet currently numbers one A310-300 (which recently returned to service having completed a C check), two B737-400s, and one other B737-500. Operationally, it offers regular flights throughout Afghanistan as well as to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Turkey, Iran, and Russia. Services to India, China, and Kuwait are also due to resume shortly.