The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh on Monday extended the suspension of all international and domestic flights but China till May 7 to contain coronavirus spread while flights would be operated to bring Bangladeshis stranded in India.
‘Considering the persistent risk and to avoid further expansion of pandemic COVID19 throughout the country, with effect from 0001BST on May 1, 2020 until 2359BST BST on May 7, all scheduled international commercial passenger flights to/from Bahrain, Bhutan, Hongkong, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, and UK shall not be allowed to land any airport in Bangladesh,’ a fresh instruction of the CAAB read on Monday.
In the press statement, the CAAB, however, said special flights, air ambulance, emergency landing flights, and cargo flights would remain out of the purview of the ban.
On March 21, Bangladesh cancelled all international passenger flights until March 31 with 11 countries and extended until May 7 in multiple phases.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines managing director and chief executive officer Md Mokabbir Hossain, meanwhile, announced on Monday that the airliner would operate chartered flights to Kolkata on May 1, Delhi on May 2 and Mumbai on May 3 to bring back Bangladeshi nationals stranded in India amid the coronavirus lockdown.
The Biman also is facilitating British Airways to ferry British tourists from Sylhet to Dhaka before their final travel to London by British Airways.
On Monday, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson announced that operation of five more charter flights over the next ten days.
He said seats would be allocated over the next few days while asking all to be ready to travel at short notice once they were able to allocate anyone a seat.
‘If people don’t take up seats that they’ve been allocated without a very good reason, then we will not be reallocating them seats on future flights,’ he added.
The British government facilitated four flights from Dhaka on which at least 807 of their citizens returned home last week.
He concluded saying, ‘we’re very conscious about a our community in Bangladesh who are concerned about supply of medication. We’ve checked with pharmacies in Dhaka and Sylhet. Those pharmacies are open and stocks are good. So, for most medications you should be able to source what you need locally’.
A flight of Jazeera Airways carrying 126 Bangladeshis arrived at the airport at about 6:00pm at Dhaka from Kuwait.
Shahriar Sazzad, the health officer-in-charge of the Health Centre at Hazrat Shahajalal International Airport, said they sent all the Bangladeshis to home quarantine as they were carrying COVID19 examination certificate. He said the Bangladeshis were in Kuwait prisons and only 40 of them had their passports while rest arrived with travel pass.
The airport director Group Captain AHM Tauhid-Ul Ahsan said that 73 Sri Lankan nationals flew on a chartered flight of Sri Lankan Airlines at 6:31pm.
With the latest departure on Sunday, at least 7,959 foreign nationals, mostly British, US, Canadian, Australian, Japanese, Malaysian, Bhutanese and from different European countries, have left Dhaka since March 23, Bangladesh immigration officials said.
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