CAAB proposes 21 flights per week for the operators of both countries
Flight operation between Bangladesh and India is likely to resume this week under the air bubble agreement signed last year between the two countries to facilitate the movement of passengers and goods.
As per the pact, both countries can operate international flights with certain restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sources close to the development told BSS on Monday that the operation of flights in various destinations of both the countries may resume by August 18 as the Indian authorities hinted to give its consent to this end at any day after India’s Independence Day celebration on August 15.
Earlier, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) sent a letter to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India seeking its approval for resumption of the flight operations from August 11 under the air bubble agreement.
“In view of urgency of movement of the people of both the neighboring countries, the ongoing Covid-9 pandemic situations of Bangladesh and India were reviewed and evaluated…it feels that such operations should be continued until the resumption of scheduled passenger flights…,” the letter read.
The CAAB said that the passengers to and from Bangladesh and India have to strictly follow some Covid-19 protocol to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
Sources from Bangladesh Biman and Bangladesh mission in New Delhi said that they are expecting that the flights between Bangladesh and India to be resumed by the next two days.
In the letter, CAAB proposed 21 flights per week for the operators of both countries for the time being.
Under this proposal, Biman Bangladesh Airlines will operate nine flights in Dhaka-Kolkata/Chennai/Delhi-Dhaka routes while two flights in Chittagong-Kolkata/Chennai/Delhi-Chittagong.
US Bangla airlines will operate seven flights in Dhaka-Kolkata/Chennai/Delhi-Dhaka and Novo Air to operate one flight in Dhaka-Kolkata/Chennai/Delhi-Dhaka routes.
In another development, the Indian Visa Application Centres (IVAC) in Bangladesh resumed operations from August 10 in the wake of the lifting of countrywide lockdown in both countries.
The 15 IVAC across Bangladesh will accept all applications except tourist visa applications, a statement of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka said.
Earlier, the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh temporarily suspended operations at all its visa centres across Bangladesh due to the lockdown implemented by the Bangladesh government from April 14.
Reports said more than 3,500 Bangladeshis travel to India daily on an average basis and of them over 10% used to travel for medical purposes.
Out of the foreigners who visit India for medical purposes, 45% are from Bangladesh, according to the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
More than 13.7 million foreigners took treatment in India between January 2018 and March 2019. They included 2.8 million Bangladeshis, the report added.