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Dhaka Tribune

How did a flight from Israel land in Dhaka?

  • Flight is operated by US-based National Airlines 
  • It did not carry passengers or goods to Dhaka, say officials
Update : 12 Apr 2024, 10:06 PM

In a rare feat, a flight from Tel Aviv in Israel landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) in Dhaka on Thursday, on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, though the two countries have no diplomatic relations.

The flight touched down at 7:55pm, raising the eyebrows of the aviation experts, who were keeping an eye on the flight before the landing.

Bangladesh still does not recognize Israel and is among 28 countries under the UN to do so. In 1972, Israel offered official recognition to the newly-founded Bangladesh — a move Dhaka rejected right away.

The ban imposed on travels to Israel from Bangladesh is still in place.  

Even though Bangladesh in 2021 dropped the “except Israel” notice from e-passports, which was welcomed by Israel, Dhaka immediately clarified that the ban on travel by Bangladeshi passport holders to Israel remained unchanged.

Sources at the Dhaka airport said US-based National Airlines operated the flight from Tel Aviv. It took the flight (Boing 747-400) six hours to reach Dhaka, they added.

More twists 

National Airlines has nothing to do with Israel when it comes to ownership. The company was founded by Christopher Alf in 1991. It currently operates cargo and chartered flights.

There has been no Air Service Agreement (ASA) between Bangladesh and Israel, meaning no flight can come from the “pariah” state of the Middle East. But Bangladesh and the US share an ASA.

So, any aircraft from the country can enter Bangladesh’s airspace, while flights from the latter can do vice versa.  

Earlier, more cargo flights from the US-based airline came to Bangladesh. 

In the latest development, the flight landed to load and transport goods to the Middle East and Europe.

Dhaka airport’s Executive Director Group Captain M Kamrul Islam told Bangla Tribune that the flight did not bring in any consignment of goods or even carry passengers to Dhaka.

“It came here to receive shipments of readymade garment products. It left the airport for Sharjah and Europe,” Kamrul added.

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