One year of Padma Bridge
Launch service almost closed
Staff Correspondent: A year after the launch of the dream Padma Bridge, air routes between Dhaka to Barishal and Dhaka to Jashore scenario has changed. The number of passengers on both the route have dropped to less than half. The number of regular flights has also decreased. Where earlier there were up to 18 flights in Jashore and five in Barishal. Now there are only six on Jashore and only one on Barishal route. That is, at least 15 flights have been stopped. Airfare has also decreased. Many passengers from Khulna and Satkhira used to travel from Jessore to Dhaka by air. Now that passenger is gone.
Similarly, the passengers on Dhaka-Barishal route have drastically reduced.
Most of the launch service from Dhaka Sadarghat to southern districts have shut down. Most of the big and luxurious vessels have been disposed by cutting as scrap.
According to sources, before the inauguration of Padma Bridge, Jessore airport used to be full of passengers. At that time, up to 15 flights operated regularly on the Jessore-Dhaka route. Sometimes the number of flights was limited to 18. Biman Bangladesh Airlines, US-Bangla and NovoAir operated regular flights. Apart from Jessore-Dhaka, there were consecutive flights on Jessore-Chittagong and Jessore-Cox’s Bazar routes. Air tickets were also not readily available. Due to increased demand, the price of air tickets sometimes doubled. Dream Padma Bridge was inaugurated on June 25 last year. Then the scene began to change. (See Page-2)
As communication is easy, many people are traveling to Dhaka by road. Earlier it used to take 6-12 hours to reach Dhaka via Daulatdia Ferry Ghat, now it is possible to reach Dhaka in 3-4 hours. A year after the inauguration of the Padma Bridge, the number of passengers has dropped to less than half. Flights reduced to six. The number of flights increases by two on festivals including Eid.
People of southern districts travel by bus and the time has reduced by 7-10 hours. Anyone can up-down Dhaka to Barishal in 3-hours by bus. The bus fare is also very convenient at Tk 500 only.
Related sources also said that currently seven flights of US-Bangla and NovoAir are closed. Three of the seven US-Bangla flights are operating. And two of NovoAir’s six are operating. Bangladesh Biman flights reduced from two to one. As such, currently six flights are plying on the Jessore-Dhaka route every day. The rent has also been affected. Previously, the minimum fare in both private airlines was always above Tk 4000. Now it has come down to Tk 2000.
Jessore manager of US-Bangla Airlines Sabbir Hossain said, “After the launch of the Padma bridge, the number of passengers has decreased. The number of flights has been reduced by half. Especially the number of passengers in Khulna has decreased. Communication from Khulna to Dhaka through Padma Bridge has become much easier. They are traveling by road.
He also said, ‘Before the inauguration of Padma Bridge, there were six US-Bangla flights on the Jessore-Dhaka route. There were also flights from Jessore to Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar route. Now it is down to three. These three flights are traveling only on the Dhaka-Jashore route. The rent has also come down a lot. Now the minimum fare of Jessore-Dhaka route is Tk 2,200.
NovoAir’s Jessore office in-charge SM Nahid Islam told Daily Industry, ‘We used to have six flights on the Dhaka-Jessore route. There are two running now. Due to the Padma Bridge, the number of passengers has decreased. The lowest fare has also come down to Tk 2,800. However, on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha, two of their flights have been extended, said this official of NovoAir.
Once a regular passenger of Biman was businessman Uttam Das, a resident of Jessore’s Keshavpur. He told, ‘I have to travel to Dhaka regularly for business purposes. The ferry took a long time. That’s why I used to go by plane. Now traveling through Padma Bridge has become easier. Dhaka can be reached in less time. That’s why I travel to Dhaka by bus.
He also said, ‘It takes about two hours to enter the airport, go to Dhaka and leave the airport in Dhaka. But if you take a good bus, you can reach Dhaka in 3 to 3 and a half hours via Padma Bridge. The bus fare is one-fourth of the air fare. It is very easy to go to Dhaka by road and return home after finishing the day’s work.
Some passengers said that earlier many passengers from Satkhira and Khulna used to come to Jessore and go to Dhaka by plane. It takes two hours to reach Jessore airport by road from Satkhira and Khulna. And because of the Padma Bridge, Dhaka can be reached in three hours from Khulna and four hours from Satkhira. As a result, passengers are going to Dhaka via Khulna instead of coming to Jessore by road.
Acting Manager of Jessore Airport Mahbub Alam told, “Passengers of all airlines from Jessore have decreased in the last one year after the launch of Padma Bridge.” Due to this, the number of flights has also decreased. Now there are only six flights on the Jessore-Dhaka route. Among them, Biman Bangladesh Airlines has one, NovoAir has two and US-Bangla has three. On the occasion of Eid only, NovoAir has increased two flights. Earlier there were flights from Jessore to Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar, but now they are closed.
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