Abu Dhabi: The Bangladesh government will start two-way commercial flight operations between the UAE and Dhaka from July 13, a top diplomat from the Bangladesh Embassy told Gulf News on Sunday.
Initially, there will be six flights a week, from the UAE to Bangladesh - three flights each from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Bangladesh.
The roundtrip operations of Biman Bangladesh Airlines will commence both from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to facilitate many stranded Bangladeshis to return home as they have been requesting their government to initiate flight operations for months.
Speaking to Gulf News, Mohammad Mizanur Rehman, Charge d’Affaires at the embassy said, “Now passengers from Bangladesh can come to the UAE after obtaining UAE entry permits and meeting all safety and precautionary measures. The two-way flights will ease problems of many stranded Bangladeshi at both destination – UAE and Bangladesh.”
Now they can book tickets online without requiring to register anywhere, he said.
Many people who had emergency situations were already repatriated earlier through special flights, which took over 5,000 people to Bangladesh from the UAE in cooperation with UAE authorities, Rehman said.
Now people can buy return tickets and can come from Bangladesh and return again, he said.
There has been challenges due to COVID-19 and flight restrictions, not only for us, but all countries of the world faced similar challenges. But now we can say we are in better position to resume two-way flight operations,” Rehman said.
The skyrocketed cost of airfare is major concern for many low-income groups of Bangladeshis, however the community voiced its concerns to their government to lower the air ticket prices.
Tickets which used to be sold before the pandemic at around Dh1,500 round trip, are now being purchased at Dh3,700. While Biman’s online roundtrip ticket prices showed close to Dh5,000 for Abu Dhabi to Dhaka for July 18.
Bangladesh Business Council and Non-resident Bangladeshis (NRB) also requested their government to reduce the airfare prices of national carrier.
In a letter, the NRB stated, “However, currently the Biman Bangladesh Airline’s fares are very high and most of the stranded NRBs are unable to afford the high airfare and buy a ticket,as the majority of them fall under labour category or tiny businesses who already have lost their jobs and income.”
“In case the national Carrier’s airfare is not reduced to an affordable level, there are chances that, those stranded NRBs will remain stuck where ever they are, and will not only become illegal in the foreign countries but will also tarnish the image of our country due to their illegal status, joblessness,poor living condition,” letter stated.
The community requested their government to extend the helping hands to these stranded NRBs to return to Bangladesh.
Mohammad Abdul Mannan, a Bangladeshi in Abu Dhabi, said, “ticket prices are very high many can’t afford it to return home. So our government must reconsider it for poor people and help them.”
Normally we book a two-way ticket between Dh1,500 and Dh1,600 but now only the one-way ticket reached to Dh1,850,” he said.
About high ticket prices, Rehman said, due to COVID, airlines have to follow special rules and regulation and maintain social distancing inside flights, which led to skyrocketing to airfare but soon it would bounce back as commercial operations begin.
“I am sure the airfare will come down,” he said.
As required by the UAE authorities, the airline asked passengers who are travelling to the UAE to go through COVID-19 tests by the UAE Embassy authorised laboratories within 96 hours of flight departure at his own arrangement. Only COVID-19 negative test result holders will be allowed to travel to the UAE.