• Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Bangladesh resumes international flights amid Covid-19 pandemic

  • Published at 06:47 am June 16th, 2020
Shahjalal airport
File photo of the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka Dhaka Tribune

Two flights from and to Qatar kicked off the operation in the early hours of Tuesday

“International flights resumed today, [Tuesday]” Group Captain AHM Towhidul Ahsan, the director of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, told UNB.

A Qatar Airways flight left Dhaka at 2am, he said, and added that another flight from Doha landed in Dhaka at 3am.

Tahera Khandaker, general manager (PR) of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, said a Biman flight will leave Dhaka for London once a week (every Sunday), and the first one will be on June 21.

On June 11, Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) Chairman Air Vice Marshall Muhammad Mafidur Rahman had announced that international flights would resume from June 16.

Flights on all routes will resume gradually, he said, adding: “We need permission from the countries concerned to start air connectivity.”

Low turnouts

Considering the economic situation, Bangladesh has resumed scheduled flights on international routes on a limited scale after around three months to keep the aviation sector afloat.

In addition, conscious passengers are avoiding travel which is creating a shortage of passengers to operate flights.

But passengers who are working in foreign countries or have resident permits of other countries are going inbound and outbound.  

CAAB Chairman Mafidur said that they can travel cheaper now as compared to special or chartered flights.

He hoped the number of passengers on international routes would increase gradually since a lot of passengers are stuck in the country and abroad.

Currently, flights are being operated to 23 destinations in 16 countries from Bangladesh, but many countries still imposed a ban on travelling to prevent Covid-19 infections.

Qatar Airways would start out by flying thrice a week, as per its schedule, while Biman would operate once per week on the Dhaka-London-Sylhet route. 

Earlier, on March 21, the CAAB shut down all domestic and international flights in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

On June 1, CAAB permitted operation of all domestic flights maintaining social distancing and following health guidelines.

The domestic flights on Dhaka-Chittagong, Dhaka-Sylhet, Dhaka-Syedpur and Dhaka-Jessore routes then resumed on a limited scale.

However, the shortage of passengers forced national flag carrier Biman to cancel some of its flights on three domestic routes.

Additional reporting by Mamun Abdullah

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