Migrant workers worried flight delays will cost them their jobs
Complaints about ticket problems and a lack of cooperation from airport officials dominated a public hearing organized by the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport authorities and the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) in Kurmitola, Dhaka, on Monday.
The aim of the hearing was to improve the quality of passenger services at the airport. As many as 15 migrant workers participated in the hearing.
Complainant Md Sohel, from Noakhali, said he had twice bought tickets to travel to Saudi Arabia but could not travel as officials at the airport health desk refused to cooperate with him on his Covid-19 test result.
“I managed to get a refund for the ticket on a flydubai flight and bought a ticket from Emirates for Tk68,000. Still, I was unable to fly,” he said.
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Didarul Alam, another complainant, said customs officials had demanded bribes when he tried to board his flight.
Md Yousuf said he had purchased a ticket from Etihad Airways but could not get on his flight as there was no record of his name at the check-in counter. He bought another ticket from flydubai on Monday and he needed to fly as soon as possible as his Iqama would expire on Tuesday.
Halima Akhter complained of missing her flight as she was not allowed to fly for 14 days after receiving the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“I may lose my job, but no one at the airport is helping me with a refund of the ticket money,” she said.
In response to the complaints, CAAB Chairman Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman ordered the officials concerned to solve them as soon as possible. Dhaka Airport Executive Director AHM Touhidul Ahsan also said CAAB would try to solve all the problems.
Acknowledging the issue of non-cooperation by airport health officials, a representative of Emirates told Md Sohel they would ensure that his ticket was refunded and solve Covid-19 test related problems.
Regarding the bribery allegations, Airport Customs Deputy Commissioner Nirjhor Ahmed said the authorities would increase monitoring to hold any corrupt officials accountable.
Airport Health Officer Dr Shahriar Sajjad said passengers must wait 14 days before flying after getting a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
CAAB chairman: lifetime travel bans for drug trafficking
In his address, CAAB Chairman Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman said drug trafficking had increased at the country’s airports.
“Drugs are being found in the luggage of passengers. Some of them claim someone else planted the drugs under the guise of sending a package to relatives, but we will not accept such statements,” he said.
Passengers should not take anything from anyone during travel. If drugs are found with someone, they will be banned from traveling for life,” the CAAB chief added.
He also reminded passengers to arrive at least eight hours before their flight so that their Covid-19 tests could be completed in time.
Furthermore, the CAAB chairman said that local and foreign airways had been asked not to hike ticket prices.