News: FSB Herat gives boost to airport transition process
By Maj. Jacinto CHOZAS
HERAT, Afghanistan – FSB Herat takes steps forward into the Herat Civilian Airport Transition Plan.
On Sept. 17 Forward Support Base Herat – the ISAF unit that provides the main aeronautical services in support of civilian air traffic in Herat - launched an initiative to support the training of the afghan personnel that will take over positions with responsibilities on aeronautical services of Herat civil Airport in the near future.
A number of Afghan technical staff were welcomed by the DCOS Stability of RC-W, Col. Melillo, along with the commander of FSB Herat, Col. De Palma, and the manager of Herat Airport, Mr. Azimi. After visiting the Herat Airport facilities, they were transferred to the FSB Herat, where they were briefed on the actions taken so far by FSB and RC-WEST.
The training course consists of lectures and preparatory sessions in the different areas that are included in the Airport Transition Plan, such as ATC, meteorology, flight safety, fire-fighting and infrastructure maintenance. These activities are not a mentoring task as such: they are conceived as part of a familiarization process consisting in transmitting knowledge and experiences through conferences and visits to the working posts in the above mentioned areas, which could be considered as an “on the job training” for current workers of the Airport.
Currently there is an ongoing planning process to shape the future transfer of aeronautical services from ISAF to the Afghan Ministry of Transport. The process is expected to take years because the ultimate goal is to have an international airport fully compliant with ICAO standards. Nevertheless, the first steps have already been taken and they have been supported from the very beginning by FSB Herat, which is mainly composed by Spanish and Italian military personnel with other national contributions and provides assistance with Air Traffic Control Service, meteorology service, aeronautical information service, fire-fighter and rescue services etc.
Also recently, another important activity has been undertaken by FSB Herat: the support to the Hajj program. The goal is to assist civilian airlines, the Herat Airport Manager and the Chief of “Religious Affairs and Pilgrimage Department” during the annual pilgrimage period in which many believers travel to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It is foreseen that in the upcoming weeks more than 4000 pilgrims will use the Herat Airport to travel to the Holy city of Mecca, fulfilling this way one very important mandate of the Muslim faith.