The ban still remains imposed on Bangladesh Biman which is heavily dependent on cargo flights to sustain its loss-making operations
The United Kingdom has withdrawn its ban on direct cargo flights from Dhaka to London today. However, the ban remains on Bangladesh Biman which is heavily dependent on cargo flights.
The lifting of the suspension comes as a result of ongoing cooperation between the UK and Bangladesh, and the joint assessment of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
This means, any airlines will be able to carry direct cargo to the UK except for Biman Bangladesh Airlines. However, Biman will also be able to operate direct cargo flights to UK after the airlines acquires a certificate of “air cargo or main carrier operating into the union from a third country airport (ACC3)”.
British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Alison Blake said: “The Bangladesh government appealed to withdraw the ban and eventually met all the required standards.”
When asked if it was a political decision, she replied in the negative.
“I’m delighted to confirm that the temporary suspension on direct air cargo between Bangladesh and the UK has been lifted, following significant progress made in meeting a number of important security conditions,” High Commissioner Blake said.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shahjahan Kamal on Sunday came up with the announcement at a joint press conference at the Civil Aviation Board office at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
As per the recommendations of the UK government, Minister Kamal said, the Bangladesh government took some immediate measures such as recruiting UK-based aviation security agency for two years, developing Export Cargo Complex with three layers of security system, introducing European standard training for cargo handling, establishing two explosive detection systems (EDS), introducing Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) Cargo Scanning system and so on. Bangladesh expects positive response from Australia and European Union.
“I’m grateful for the close cooperation between our two governments which has allowed us to achieve this important outcome,” said the British High Commissioner.
Biman Bangladesh Managing Director AM Mosaddique Ahmed said: “Today, ACC3 correspondent came to audit Biman and the audit will continue for the next four days. After that they will give the clearance report. We expect to get the clearance by the first week of March. After that we too can start direct cargo flights to the UK.”
On March 8, 2016, the British government had slapped the ban on direct cargo flights from Dhaka to London after Biman failed to pass the safety and security tests.
Biman’s cargo business shrank by 22.54% during the last fiscal year following the ban on direct freight flights from Dhaka to London, according to available data.