Bangladesh-India restores air connectivity after seven months

Muktadir Rashid  | Published: 11:31, Oct 28,2020 | Updated: 00:25, Oct 29,2020


An Air India Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner plane lands at the Ben Gurion International airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel. — Reuters file photo

Both Bangladesh and Indian authorities resumed their international flights from Dhaka and Chattogram to different Indian destinations on Wednesday with weekly 58 flights run under the air bubble agreement which would allow all but tourists for now, the officials said.

On Wednesday, a flight of US-Bangla left Dhaka for Indian destinations — Chennai and Kolkata.

Following the commencement of flights, Indian High Commission in Dhaka stated that it is ‘big relief for #Bangladesh nationals desiring urgent travel to India, especially for medical purpose. All visas, except Tourist, are being issued.’

Civil Aviation Authorities, Bangladesh chairman Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman, Indian high commissioner Vikram K Doraiswami and US-Bangla chief executive officer captain Shikdar Mesbauddin Ahmed, among others, were present on the occasion of the resumption of flights after seven months of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The US-Bangla Airlines general manager Kamrul Islam told New Age that they got approval for operating 13 flights weekly.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines got permission to operate 14 flights in a week while Novo Air would operate one flight a week.

Md Mokabbir Hossain, Biman’s managing director and chief executive officer, said they would be operating three flights on each of the three Indian destinations —Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata — for now.

On Dhaka-Kolkata-Dhaka route, the first flight of Biman would begin on November 1.

The US–Bangla said that of the 13 flights, it would operate flights on Dhaka-Chennai-Dhaka, Dhaka-Kolkata-Dhaka and Chattogram-Chennai-Chattogram routes.

Five operators — Air India, Tata SIA Airlines Limited, operating as Vistara, SpiceJet, Go Airlines and IndiaGo — would operate rest of the 28 flights on Dhaka-Delhi-Dhaka, Dhaka-Kolkata-Dhaka, Dhaka-Chennai-Dhaka, and Dhaka-Mumbai-Dhaka routes.

On Air Transport Bubble for travel to India, an Indian High Commission press release said that effective October 22, air and water routes would open for Bangladeshi nationals. 

India’s Tata-SIA joint venture airline Vistara on Tuesday announced it would launch flight services to Bangladesh from India on November 5, under the recently signed air bubble agreement between the two countries.

The officials said that the air bubble arrangement between the two countries helps airlines to operate international flights with certain restrictions.

On October 9, the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh announced the resumption of online visa application services for Bangladeshi citizens and said visas would be provided in nine categories, including medical, business, employment, journalists and diplomats.

According to the Indian home affairs ministry, of the foreigners that visited India between January 2018 and March 2019, the highest number was from Bangladesh which was 28,76,064, followed by 18,63,278 from America.

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