center_img The Afghan airspace, a key air corridor between Europe and Asia, has been managed by the U.S.-led international military coalition or foreign companies paid by donor countries since 2001, when the Taliban regime was overthrown in a U.S.-led invasion.The air traffic over Afghanistan, as well as to and from the Central Asian country generates about $33 million a year, according to Mohammad Qassim Wafayezada, the Afghan Civil Aviation Authority’s deputy director general on policy and planning. International airlines that fly into the Afghan capital include the Dubai-based Emirates, Air India and Turkish Airlines. Many other airlines fly over Afghanistan.There are no flights to and from the European Union because the Afghan Civil Aviation Authority is not recognized by the bloc, which cannot certify it due to safety deficiencies.The current contract on Afghan air traffic control, paid for by the United States, ends June 30 and failure to renew it will mean that foreign airlines will not be able to use Afghan airspace.It may be a scenario difficult to imagine but at the core is Kabul’s reluctance to take over responsibility for its airspace and put a new contract in place — paid for from its own budget. The implications of unmanaged airspace are serious. In changing routes, airlines would potentially incur higher fuel costs that would inevitably be transferred on to customers. Existing restrictions on use of airspace in other places, such as Syria and Iraq, would further complicate alternative flight paths.The credibility of the government of Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, who took over last year in the first democratic transition of power in the country, would be damaged.And with donors already tiring of Kabul’s regular need for cash handouts to cover budget expenses such as civil service payrolls, failure to take over its own airspace will likely further erode the government’s political capital.___Associated Press writer John-Thor Dahlberg in Brussels contributed to this story.Follow Lynne O’Donnell on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lynnekodonnellCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img

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