Stranded Saudi Arabia returnees thronged in front of the offices of Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Airlines in the capital on Thursday for having their air tickets confirmed to go back to their work places in the middle-eastern country.
Although they crowded for tickets, they did not make any demonstration in Karwan Bazar, said Sultana Jahan, duty officer of Hatirjhell Police Station.
Saudi Airlines has decided to operate six special flights from Dhaka within September 30 to facilitate the return of Bangladeshi workers, said an official of the airlines.
Besides, the passengers of Biman Bangladesh Airlines with return tickets to Jeddah, dated March 18-20 and to Riyadh dated March 18-19, have been requested to contact the Biman Sales Office between September 25 and 26 to book their flights.
Biman will operate the Dhaka-Riyadh flight on September 29 and Dhaka-Jeddah flight on September 30 for return ticket holders of Jeddah and Riyadh for the aforementioned dates respectively.
Biman Managing Director Md Mokabbir Hossain confirmed the matter to The Business Standard on Thursday.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines has requested the passengers to contact the Biman Sales Office with necessary documents, such as their passports, tickets and approval from the app or link authorised by Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian Airlines started issuing tickets for Bangladeshi expatriates on Thursday morning. A long queue of expatriates was seen in front of the airlines' office in Karwan Bazar area in the morning.
Besides, Biman Bangladesh Airlines also started issuing tickets from its Matijheel office for its flights scheduled for September 26 and 27 to Saudi Arabia.
A large number of expatriates also thronged in front of the Biman office.
Md Riaz, a Saudi returnee, told The Business Standard, "I came with the return tickets of Air Arabia. But when I contacted to them, the airlines officials said that they did not get permission to operate flights and suggest to come after October 1."
"I went to Biman and Saudi Airlines as well. But they are issuing tickets for those who have the return tickets of respective airlines," he added.
Another Saudi returnee, Jashim Uddin said he collected a token on Sunday last and will get his ticket on next Saturday, reported UNB.
Saudi Airlines is issuing 500 tickets a day following the serial numbers of tokens, he said.
A notice announcing the process has also been hung outside the office of Saudi Airlines regarding the matter, he added.
Bangladeshi expatriates to return to Oman from Oct 1 without NOCs
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said Bangladeshi expatriates who have got stuck in Bangladesh due to the Covid-19 pandemic will be able to return to their workplaces in Oman from October 1.
The foreign minister was talking to reporters at his office.
He said the stranded migrant workers can return to Oman by any airlines without the obligation of having no objection certificate (NOCs) from the Embassy.
Dr Momen said they got the message from the Oman government on Thursday, but the returnees must have valid Omani resident permits or Iqamas, valid passports and Covid-19 test reports.
Meanwhile, the foreign minister, on Thursday, urged all Saudi Arabia-bound Bangladeshi expatriates - who have been stranded here due to Covid-19 - to maintain discipline. He also assured their return before Iqama (work permit) expiration following a Saudi Arabian pledge.
"I hope most of the stranded Bangladeshi expatriate workers would be able to reach Saudi Arabia before expiration of their extended Iqama period… if not, the Saudi government has assured us that they would further extend Iqama duration for the rest of the stranded Bangladeshi nationals here," he said.
The foreign minister said all expatriates would be able to return to their workplaces as flight operation has resumed between the two countries.
Momen said Dhaka has been able to resolve the issue of expatriate workers stranded here as the Saudi government agreed on Wednesday to renew their visas and extend Iqamas for another 24 days.
Meanwhile, the foreign minister trashed the perception that the Saudi Arabia will send back 54,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh, whom the then Saudi authorities took from Bangladesh long ago seeing their sufferings.
There are many people to instigate because Bangladesh and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) maintain very good relations with 22 lakh workers in the KSA.
He said, the Saudi government wants Bangladesh to provide passports to those 54,000 Rohingyas, as the Saudi government does not keep stateless people.
"It doesn't mean the Saudi government will send them back to Bangladesh," Dr Momen added.