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Waqas Hamidi
Kam Air Flight Accident
Kam Air is the first private airline after collapse of Taliban regime in Afghanistan. One of
its Boeing 737-200 flying from Herat Kabul crushed on a mountain 32 km south east of
Kabul on Thursday afternoon 03rd Feb 2005. There were 96 passengers on board the flight and 08
crew members. No one survived from the accident. There were nine Turkish, three American aid
workers, one Italian Naval Commander, one Iranian. Six out of eight crew members were
Russian and the rest all Afghans. Spokesman from Kam Air Said (Anderson, 2005).
Kam Air 737 was transporting passengers from Herat Kabul, in severe snowy weather
low visibility. Kabul and Bagram air traffic controllers cleared the aircraft to land. Aircraft got
lost from the radar and never landed Kabul International Airport. No one could confirm that
whether flight has diverted to the alternate destination because of weather. The last time that we
have been told that the aircraft was seen on radar was about 5km east of Kabul Said Mr.
Enayatullah Qasimi Afghan Transport minister in a news conference (GRAHAM, 2005).
After several hours of waiting due to delay on the arrival of the aircraft, families and
friends of the passenger whom were at the airport got nervous. Flight delays are normal practice
in aviation world. And airlines are sole responsible to pass the accurate information through
different means of communication to keep everyone in full picture. But officials didnt have any
information to announce. Kabul is surrounded with high mountains and pilots have to use visual
flight rules (VFR) to land the aircraft, therefore; in winter season its common to expect a lot of
flight delays and cancellations. However, the delay about Kam air flight inbound from Herat was
different. Since, flight did depart from Herat with no major delay. No technical problem was

reported or aircraft may have changed route due to weather. The airport manager Haji Timor
said, The plane was diverted to Peshawar but Pakistani authorities said that no plane has
entered Pakistan airspace from Afghanistan side (Burnett, 2005).
People did wait for the plane to see their loved ones but overtime they were concerned
what has happened with the aircraft. Afghan government and ISAF started to look for the plane
and come up with an answer to people. They had activated the preliminary search operations but
they faced with challenges that they had cope with it. Severe weather conditions did not allow
the search to be meet the peoples incentives. But people did not lose hope that maybe the
aircraft could have landed somewhere safely. Afghan National Army (ANA) and International
Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) for Afghanistan were involved in the search operation for the
737 Kam Air plane which crashed on 3rd Feb. ISAF provided air support with Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle, Black Hawk and Apache helicopters. Additionally, hundreds of ground troops were busy
supporting the search and rescue operation. Maj. Karen van Patot spokeswoman to ISAF said
that due to darkness and freezing fog the operation has been suspended till the morning of
Saturday. (Aizenman, Washington Post, 2005).
ISAF and ANA resumed their search and rescue operation on Saturday 5 th Feb. Ground
troop were trying hard to locate any of the wreckage where last time crew had established
contact with tower but they could not find anything. Unfortunately due to harsh weather
conditions, in which snow covered all over had stopped the ground troops to drive to higher part
of the mountains. Also, this mountain was one the strategic point during Russian invasion and it
was heavily mined.

On Saturday afternoon, first Lieutenant Kootje was pilot of an Apache helicopter whom
spotted the crash site. Dutch apache pilot said that they were lucky that they spotted the crash
while they were turning in a valley and suddenly they could have visual on the tail of the
aircraft (Jones, 2005).
They dropped a team of Slovenian to assist with rescuing passenger if they were alive.
According to the Afghan transport minister Mr Enayatullah Qasimi, his statement was
that the recovery operation plan is to use helicopters to expedite the transportation of the bodies.
He also said that its not an easy job for them and will be time consuming (Morenatti, 2005)
The accident is linked to the public administration (PA) which in this essay it will be analyzed.
This aircraft accident was the worst tragedy that Afghan people had experienced.
Firstly, people believe that safety of the aircraft could be also one of the cause of the
crash because Kam Air Company didnt own this aircraft. It was chartered from Republic of
Kyrgyzstan, an airline called Phoenix Aviation. According to an official Journal of the European
Union, Phoenix Company was banned to fly to Europe (commission, 2015). Due to safety
concerns, Phoenix Company was on the blacklist, in which they were not allowed to fly on EUs
soil. The same company from Republic Kyrgyzstan which was on the blacklist of EU, had been
chartered by Kam Air. Because they had limited access to due to safety, most likely they had
cheaper rate of the charters. And Kam Air went for it. Means, if the company wants to charter an
aircraft which they dont have good reputation, its the Afghan Civil Aviation Authority to stop
the airline and should not grant clearance to fly. But unfortunately they failed to perform their
duty properly and the as a result more than 100 people got killed.


Secondly, Afghan authorities say the cause of the crash remain a mystery (SHAH,
2005). The only way to retrieve information about the cause the aircraft was to get the recording
materials from the voice recorder which is in the cockpit and flight data recorder. With regrets
that Afghan government didnt have the capabilities to get the recording. Therefore, they have
requested the US government to assist. Another cause of crash is that, there was unconfirmed
information that pilot wanted to divert the aircraft due to bad weather and requested Bagram
airbase which is the US military in control but their request was denied. As a result they had to
attempt Kabul and due to poor visibility it crashed into the mountain. Whereas, the report from
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shows that flight data recorder was located on
time to get the information from it but it did not provide useful information. Also, the cockpit
voice report was not found from the wreckage of the plane. (NTSB Identification:
DCA05RA033, 2005)
Thirdly, according to officials they could not announce, what was the cause of the crash.
People travel by air due to security reasons in which they are unable to travel by road. Officials
said, that nor aircraft was hijacked neither crashed because of explosives on board the flight
(Gazette, 2005). They could not confirm that the aircraft was not shot down by anti-government
elements. To this extent, Taliban Commander Mullah Dadullah said in a statement his guerillas
had not shot down the plane and that the group was saddened by the crash (Aizenman,, 2005).
In addition, people speculated that may Taliban still have control to that mountains where
the aircraft crashed and the aircraft may have shot by them. However, manager of Phoenix

Aviation in which the plane was leased to Kam Air told, bad weather caused the accident, not
any fault with the plane (Ruetere , 2005).
Lastly, maybe crew did not have enough experience to fly in a country which is having
high mountains. It is very important to have experienced crew composition for each region that
they will have more familiarization.
The aircraft accident left many effects behind.
The Afghan people were shocked about this accident as they did not face with such
tragedy. Post-accident, people were hopeless about the Airliners and government that how these
entities are playing with peoples life daily. Moreover, people were lost who to trust because
airlines left behind bad reputation in which they chartered the aircraft from a Kyrgyz company
that was on EUs blacklist due to safety concerns. And the government lost their credibility that
how irresponsible and unprofessional approach the authorities had in clearing unsafe airlines to
provide air services for Afghan people.
According to role of the government private sectors to have freedom in the market but it
does not mean that they ignore all safety measures and hold the license to kill (Public
Management and Administration). People were lost that if they travel by road the risk is high due
to security reasons and if they fly with one of these airlines they are not safe and it will suicide.
That means the safety and security of the individuals can not be guaranteed. The positive effect
was that the government of Afghanistan learned from this mistake and they tried to be more
vigilant about the safety aspects of the airlines.


The case clearly states the government involvement unprofessionally with its administration.
It is understandable that Afghanistan is war-torn country which the last 30 years they have
internal conflicts. But after the collapse of Taliban government should have hired professionals
to assist with rebuilding of the country. For instance, when aircraft got lost from the radar,
authorities were not ready to respond effectively. Some said the aircraft was diverted to another
country because of bad weather and some could not even confirm what has happened with
aircraft. According to Public Administration (PA) legal definition that government has
regulations for everything that what they should do and what they should not (Shafritz, 2013).
The case shows that officials did not comply with the rules and regulation to go through the
documents and make sure the airline is safe to fly in Afghanistan. Prior accepting the aircraft,
there should have been a thorough inspection of the aircraft, to insure they are fully complaint
with the safety standards. Kam Air was the first private airline after the Taliban regime, which
they had the power to control the market. Demand was high to some extent because the national
carrier which is Ariana Afghan Airlines had no capacity to compete with private sectors.
Therefore, private sector had more hands on the business. Question is that in 2005, government
was moving forward slowly I am sure they were not dealing with 100 airlines. They had enough
time and they had enough power to say no the airline which did not meet safety standards.
According to PA, the public administration is theft (Shafritz, 2013) . Authorities may have been
involved in corruption to grant clearance to an unsafe carrier of passenger. Because in aviation

there is no first, second or third time. The first mistake can be the last mistake, this case
demonstrate it in a good way that officials blindly signed the flight clearance for Kam Air.

To conclude, the Afghan authorities could have avoided the accident but they failed with
to apply Public Administration (PA). In every profession people should consider PA. They must
not forget that they are also public administrators even-though they have certain expertise they
should try the most possible way to adhere public administration.
In my opinion, government should recruit young generation with higher education, leave
the technical positions to professionals so that they can accomplish the tasks effectively and
efficiently. Government must launch a decisive program and take serious action against nepotism
and corruption. This will enable the country to grow and one day it will be one of the selfsustainable countries in the world.


Works Cited
Aizenman, N. (2005, February 7). Retrieved from WP:
Aizenman, N. (2005, February 5). Washington Post. Retrieved from
Anderson, P. (2005, February 5). News. Retrieved from BBC:
Burnett, V. (2005, February 4). Retrieved from Financial Times :
commission, E. (2015). Commission Implementing Regulation. Official Journal of the
European Union, 91.
Gazette. (2005, February 6). Crash likely killed all, Afghans say:. Retrieved from
GRAHAM, S. (2005, February 4). Mail & Guardian . Retrieved from Africa's Best
Read :
Jones, M. G. (2005). Cheri Ghar Crash Site. Kabul, ISAF
Morenatti, E. (2005, February 6). The Salt Lake Tribune Archive. Retrieved from Salt
(2005). NTSB Identification: DCA05RA033. Washington, DC: National Transporation
Safety Board.
Ruetere . (2005, February 14). Retrieved from
Shafritz, R. a. (2013). Public Administration .
SHAH, A. (2005, Feb 8). Filed Under the US World News . Retrieved from The
Associated Press: