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Bangladesh - 4 weeks ago

Foreign airlines shutting flights from Chottagram

Staff Correspondent, Ctg : Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong is increasing the number of international destinations. Along with this, infrastructural capacity is also increasing. However, a total of 14 foreign airlines closed commercial operations in recent years, sending a negative message to the international aviation industry.
According to airport data, the number of passengers increased from 6 lakh to 1.6 lakh annually after the introduction of direct foreign flights in 1996. In 2023, 968,000 passengers went to international destinations through Shah Amanat Airport, which is 8.5 percent more than the previous year. On the other hand, the number of passengers in domestic destinations is increasing every year. The implementation of runway-taxiway strengthening project at a cost of Tk 540 crore to increase the capacity of the airport was completed last December. Under the same project, the lighting system and drainage improvement works are going on, which will be completed by December.
India’s SpiceJet, Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways and Oman’s Oman Air have stopped operating flights from Shah Amanat Airport since late October. As a result, direct flights on the Chittagong-Muscat route were stopped. Earlier, 11 other foreign airlines were shut down at different times. Among these, Thai Air, Thai Smile Air, Kuwait Air, Phuket Air, Dragon Air, Malindo Air, Rotana Air, Himalayan Air, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Air and Tiger Airways and Silk Air were suspended on international routes.
Akbar, a travel agent businessman, told that expatriates going to the Middle East are the most affected due to the closure of Jazeera and Oman Air. In the last two years, there has been a huge demand for passengers around the airways. Expats and passengers going to Kuwait and Oman in and around Chittagong will have to suffer due to the sudden suspension of the services of the airlines. Due to this, the airfares of other airlines are also increasing. However, Kuwait’s low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways increased the number of flights from three to five a week on the Chittagong-Kuwait-Jeddah route due to increased passenger traffic.
Airlines concerned said that as an international airport, the number of counters is less, the space of the terminal building is less and the number of belts is less, so it takes time to collect luggage, that is, foreign airlines are closing flight operations on this route due to lack of sufficient facilities, but there is demand from passengers.
Chittagong station chief of Oman Airways Asif Chowdhury said that according to the decision of the authorities, the operations of Oman Air from Chittagong will be temporarily closed on March 8. However, flights from Dhaka will be operated as usual. Flights on this route are temporarily suspended due to network re-routing only. Nothing more to say.
In this regard, Shah Amanat Airport Director Group Captain Taslim Ahmed told Daily Industry that our infrastructural capacity has increased a lot. Especially the runway. Now ‘Boeing 777’ or ‘Boeing 787 Dreamliner’ and ‘Airbus A320’ can land through this runway.
As a result, there is no runway problem here. Besides, the scope of our passenger service terminal building will be increased. Now if 13 aircrafts are called instead of five aircraft capacity, then the situation will not be under control. He also said that the foreign airlines are not closing the business from Chittagong airport, rather they are getting good business on other routes, so they are moving to that route. In this, Saudi Airlines will join the operation of flights from Chittagong. Also, I believe in a few months Jazeera Air will come again to operate the flight. But it is precisely when the competition decreases that there is volatility in ticket prices. We have taken note of this matter. But our job is to ensure passenger service. It is their decision whether to operate an airline business or not.
It should be noted that currently six airlines including two domestic airlines are operating international flights from Chittagong. These are Bangladesh Biman, US-Bangla, Air Arabia, Salam Air and Fly Dubai.

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