Ay caramba. Presumably it's mostly nonradar then? If they have radar and they're using 50nm separation, they're doing it wrong. Requiring rigid overflight slot times certainly complicates transiting an already precarious part of the world.
You could say that, yes.
Based on this 9 year old ICAO document
, back when the US military was providing ATC services over Afghanistan, they had 3 ASR8 radars online, with plans to add 2 more. Mind you these are obsolete radar systems, and it could very well be that part/all of the radars in the system are unreliable. Hence the procedural enroute separation standards. Germany, with the help of Australia, was funding up to 30 MLAT surveillance system sensors to cover the remaining blind spots. The MLAT system wasn't yet operational at that time. It could also be that the US took back those ASR8 radars with them when they left.From another document from 5 years ago
, the MLAT system still wasn't operational. Pakistan is also mentioned as pitching in to help with the installation of new radars and Data link, basically confirming that the old ASR8 radars in Afghanistan are either not reliable, or not there anymore.This document from 4 years ago
mentions they implemented RNP10 50nm separation standards in Sept 2015. Another 4 year old document mentions there is no COM or Surveillance systems in place over Afghani airspace.
Considering things move slowly in that part of the world, it could very well be that the radar/MLAT systems still aren't operational or reliable enough to reduce lateral separation standards.
Interesting. Thanks for the detail.
Why does Kabul use this method? Is it for safety or just an antiquated practice?
Due to all the airspace avoiding going on (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Ukraine, and even Russia, as they often dont allow overflight rights, or the fact that they charge expensive overflight fees), there is a pretty big westbound demand through Kabul FIR from flights originating from all the countries around the Bay of Bengal (India, Thailand, Singapore, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia etc). You can add Pakistan to the list as well.
A lot of countries have come together and put in place the Bay of Bengal Cooperative Air Traffic Flow management system (BOBCAT), which is a process to implement flow control through the use of entry point slot times through Kabul FIR. British Airways is one of the 60 or so airlines that participates in this program, since they have a lot of flights to the aforementioned countries. In fact, they are the 4th largest user of the program, behind TG, SQ and LH. As the poster above mine said, peak demand times for the westbound routes through Kabul are from 20z to midnight zulu.https://www.icao.int/APAC/Meetings/2011 ... ements.pdf
The 4 year old ICAO link from above is also a good read on the matter.