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Sylhet air travelers inconvenienced by Biman over ticket fares

  • Published at 02:01 pm March 28th, 2019
Web_ATAB demonstration
ATAB President Abdul Zabbar Jalil addresses reporters after a sit-in program in front of Biman office in Sylhet Monday; March 25, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

Biman Airlines allegedly collects additional ticket fare from Sylhet zone passengers

Allegedly, irregularities at Biman Bangladesh Airlines’ Sylhet office have been causing distress and suffering to the air travelers of that region.

Biman’s Sylhet office has reportedly been charging passengers additional amounts for tickets and often forces them to buy tickets for higher classes, saying that economy class tickets an unavailable. 

Though there is a fixed ticket rate for passengers from Dhaka, Chittagong, and Sylhet, the airline allegedly collects an additional fare from Sylhet zone passengers.

Abdul Zabbar Jalail, president of the Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) in Sylhet zone, said: “Biman has a common fare guideline for its domestic passengers who travel to any destination in the country in economy class. However, a crooked clique of the national flag-carrying airlines is depriving the passengers of the Sylhet region of such facilities.”

“Whenever passengers from Sylhet try to book tickets for economy class, the regional airlines’ officials tell them to book tickets for either business or first class saying there are no seats available in economy class. The passengers are victims of such intentional harassment frequently.”

He said: “Around 40 lakh people from Sylhet are expatriates living abroad — including the UK. Of them, 15 lakh are UK expatriates and around 80% of them travel on Biman flights. Moreover, nearly cent percent of Umrah pilgrims use Biman aircrafts,” he said.

Also Read-  US-Bangla to start morning flights on Dhaka-Sylhet route

Though Sylhet Osmani International Airport—the third-largest airport after Dhaka and Chittagong—has been upgraded to a full-fledged international airport, direct flights do not operated from it and flights of foreign airlines are not allowed to land at it. 

Jalail alleged that despite having two direct Jeddah-Sylhet flights for Umrah pilgrims, seats are off limits for Sylhet passengers, whereas passengers can access the same seats from Dhaka. 

Biman’s Sylhet office says it has no available group ticket for Jeddah, while the same tickets are being sold from its Dhaka office, said Jalil, adding that there are no seats available on London-bound Biman flights from Sylhet for the next 2 months.       

ATAB leaders are demonstrating in protest of such irregularities and harassment. They have also put forth a six-point demand including the implementation of a common fare for all passengers. 

To press home their demands, the ATAB leaders staged a sit-in demonstration, in front of the Biman office in Majumdari area of Sylhet city, from 10am to 12pm on Monday. 

They also demand that a sufficient amount of seats be reserved, in Umrah class, for pilgrims of Sylhet area, on a priority basis; that balance and transparency are ensured in the ticket-booking process, and that food and housing facilities be provided for Sylhet passengers according to international rules. 

When contacted, Biman Bangladesh Airlines Sylhet District Manager Helaluddin said: “Many of the demands pressed by ATAB have already been fulfilled. However, the overbooking facility has been closed as per directives of the higher authority. The common ticket fare remains the same for passengers of all zones.”

However, the higher authority of Biman Bangladesh Airlines is yet to decide on whether to launch direct flights to various destinations and to approve foreign airlines to conduct flight operations in Sylhet airport, he added.

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