Chartered flights, cargo planes and special flights for diplomats, foreigners are exempted from this suspension
International and domestic flights to Bangladesh will remain suspended from Wednesday as Bangladesh prepares to go into strict lockdown for a week.
In wake of this lockdown, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has suspended the operations of around 500 international flights.
CAAB Chairman Air Vice-Marshal Mafidur Rahman confirmed this to Dhaka Tribune.
He also mentioned that cargo aircraft would be able to operate special/chartered flights with prior permission during the lockdown.
Further actions would be taken after analyzing the Covid-19 situation, Mafidur also said.
He added that as transportation services will remain closed, no air-bound passengers will be able to reach the airport.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, US-Bangla General Manager (Public Relations) Kamrul Islam said: “Last year we suffered a lot. Although we were gradually recovering by the end of the same year, the new lockdown changes all that.”
"There are Airport parking charges, airport office fees, and staff costs. There is a steep cost for aircraft maintenance if they remain idle. Also, we are still not fully operational internationally," he added.
An official of Novoair, seeking anonymity, told Dhaka Tribune: “If the lockdown and imposed restriction on aviation gets lengthier, the industry will suffer a lot. Due to the pandemic, we are yet to recover.”
“Aviation is not comparable with any other sector. Owing to Covid-19, it is now under threat. We have to fight to get out of this situation. That is very difficult. Not only Biman Bangladesh Airlines, but other private airlines are also facing a crisis,” said Manjurul Islam, an aviation expert.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines will get a subsidy from the government. But in order to save the private airlines, the government should extend a helping hand now by planning with concerned authorities, he added.
In the first nine months of 2020, the sector has lost more than Tk 2,500 crore. The longer the pandemic period, the heavier the scale of these losses will be.
Meanwhile, Regent Airways has stopped flights from February earlier this year due to low revenue.
The pandemic is set to cost global airlines $8.4 billion this year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The government has imposed a strict ban on coronavirus infection since April 5. Due to this, flights on domestic routes are closed.
Besides, on April 1, the civil aviation regulator suspended the entry of passengers from all European countries, except for the UK, and 12 other countries to Bangladesh from April 3.
Cabin crew barred for 48 hours after vaccination
CAAB also said that cabin crew members will not be able to fly for 48 hours after receiving a vaccine for Covid-19.
To ensure flight safety, the aircrew must not fly within 48 hours after each dose of vaccination against Covid-19. This interval must be extended to 72 hours for aircrew members performing single crew operations, the aviation regulator said in a circular.
The directive was issued on April 6, signed by Group Captain Cy M Zia UL Kabir, a member of Flight Standards and Regulations.