Officials from Aviation Companies Union have accused government of giving the transfer contract for Hajj to Ariana Afghan Airlines without having followed a proper bidding process.
Their argument is that the airline will not be able to shoulder the responsibility successfully on its own.
“Awarding the contract to transfer pilgrims [to Saudi Arabia for Hajj] without considering the country’s laws is illegal and is kind of a monopoly practice,” said Farid Paikar, head of the union.
Meanwhile, a leaked document in TOLOnews’ possession, which was sent by Kam Air to the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs, reveals that the airline company quoted $60 USD less per person than that quoted by Ariana Afghan Airlines.
Kam Air reportedly quoted $920 USD per person, from Kabul to Saudi Arabia.
Officials from Hajj and Religious Affairs Ministry meanwhile said that Ariana Afghan Airlines quoted $980 USD per person for this year’s Hajj.
Deputy Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs, Daee-ul-Haq Abid, said: “Ariana [Afghan Airlines] has several years’ experience in transferring pilgrims, and besides that, it has offered a lower price compared to other companies.”
According to him, the decision was taken by the procurement commission in the ministry.
However, there are some concerns that Ariana Afghan Airlines would not be able to carry out the process successfully.
Talking about these concerns, head of the airline company, Abdul Ali Frogh, said: “There is no doubt about the capability and capacity of Ariana Airlines. We have 61 years of experience. If we are not able to do this who will be capable of shouldering this responsibly.”
According to reports, at least 24,000 pilgrims from Afghanistan attended Hajj last year.