Private Afghan carrier Kam Air (RQ, Kabul) has dismissed as "fake news" a reported warning from the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) that flights between Kabul and Delhi Int'l were reserved for state-owned Ariana Afghan Airlines (FG, Kabul) from January 1, 2021.

"Please note this was fake news circulated in the market by our competitor. If the news was true, please understand there is no way we can defy the regulator and continue operating," Chief Commercial Officer Akash Raj confirmed to ch-aviation by email.

Tolo News earlier reported the ACAA, in a notification letter on December 13, had warned of legal action against Kam Air, saying national carrier Ariana Afghan Airlines was the only airline designated to fly between Kabul and New Delhi from the start of the new year. This was in accordance with an agreement between both governments that only state-owned airlines would be allowed to fly between the countries during the COVID-19 lockdown. Ariana operates 3x weekly between Kabul and Delhi, according to the ch-aviation schedules module.

A search on Flightradar 24 and the ch-aviation schedules module reveal that Kam Air has indeed been operating daily on the route and is scheduled to continue doing so. Kam Air announced its schedule of daily flights to Delhi on Facebook, saying only passengers with academic, business, and health visas were able to travel from Kabul to Delhi, while all passengers could travel on the reverse leg. A negative COVID-19 test result obtained within 72 hours of departure was required, without which travellers faced a 14-day institutionalised quarantine.

The Indian government has limited international flights during the lockdown. “The main part of our exports to India are being carried out through the air corridor with the help of Kam Air; halting the flights would be a major economic loss for the private sector,” commented Shafiq Sikandari, a member of the Afghanistan Chambers Federation.