31 Bangladeshi passengers landed at Dhaka airport in last 24 hours
Twelve special flights, carrying several hundred migrant workers, left Dhaka on Sunday for several Middle East destinations.
National carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines operated four flights to Riyadh, Jeddah, Dubai and Dammam while Saudia Airlines had three and the rest by Emirates, Etihad, Flydubai, and US-Bangla.
The fourth special flight of Biman left the airport with 200 passengers in the night, said Tahera Khondoker, BIman’s deputy general manager (public relations).
No outbound flights were cancelled on Sunday, said airport officials. Four special flights reached Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) the same day carrying 31 Bangladeshis as of 10pm on Sunday while eight more were scheduled to reach later at night.
Of them, 30 passengers were sent to institutional quarantine while the other to home quarantine, according to airport health officials.
Singapore-bound expats in distress
Many of the Singapore-bound passengers gathered at the airport on Sunday morning with banners demanding a special flight.
They alleged that there was a Singapore Airlines flight set to fly last night. But it was later cancelled.
They had to spend Tk4 lakh on visa fees and to book a hotel in Singapore to maintain mandatory quarantine. “We have to take permission from the Singapore authorities again if we cannot reach by Monday [today],” said a youth who came from outside Dhaka requesting anonymity.
Group Captain AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan, the HSIA director, explained that the Singapore Airlines would not operate special flights before Tuesday.
Mentioning that the airport authorities had already conveyed the flight cancellation information, he said: “We do not understand why they are coming to the airport today [on Sunday].”
Biman spokesperson Tahera echoed the HSIA director.
Air Vice-Marshal M Mafidur Rahman, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority Bangladesh (CAAB), said that they had already given permission to all airlines including Singapore Airlines to operate special flights.
Rush for tickets
Hundreds of expatriates crowded for tickets at the Saudia Airlines office in Sonargaon Hotel on Sunday.
Some of them came to re-confirm their tickets as the authorities did not send them any confirmation via SMS or email.
They did not provide any information on how and when the passengers of the cancelled flights would be able to travel to Saudi Arabia
Dhaka Tribune could not reach the officials of the Saudia Airlines despite several attempts.