Seven special flights carrying Middle East-bound migrants, among the 12 scheduled for Sunday, left Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka for their destinations until 7pm that day.
The Biman Bangladesh Airlines operated four of these flights – one each on Dhaka-Dammam, Dhaka-Riyadh, Dhaka-Jeddah and Dhaka-Dubai routes, said Biman's deputy general manager (Public Relation) Tahera Khandaker.
Besides, Oman Air operated one flight on the Dhaka-Muscat route, Saudi Airlines operated one on Dhaka-Riyadh route, and Emirates operated one on the Dhaka-Dubai route.
Responding to a query, Dhaka Airport's Director Group Captain AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan said as of Sunday evening, there have been no reports so far about cancellation of any of the 12 special flights scheduled to fly from Dhaka.
Mad rush for tickets
On Sunday, hundreds of migrant workers gathered in front of the Biman's Motijheel office and Saudia Airlines' office at Hotel Sonargaon for the second consecutive day, to get their return tickets reissued in a bid to return to their workplaces in different countries.
Saudi Arabia-bound migrants found themselves in a mad rush for tickets in front of the Saudia Airlines office.
Omar Khayyam, manager (sales) at Saudia Airlines Dhaka office, told The Business Standard, "We are providing return tickets from Saturday and the migrants gathered here for their tickets."
Regarding the chaotic situation, he said, "Although we are trying to maintain discipline, the migrants are desperate to get tickets, so they are not maintaining a queue and behaving in a disorderly manner.
"We had provided tokens last year because a lot of migrants became stranded for six months. But this time the lockdown was announced only for seven days, so we did not feel it necessary to distribute tokens."
He further mentioned that Saudia will operate one flight today [Sunday] and two flights tomorrow [Monday].
Saudi Arabia-bound flights in the last four days were cancelled amid the lockdown. Although it was scheduled to resume flights for migrants on Saturday, Saudia Airlines later cancelled the plan.
Following demonstrations carried out by migrants, the Saudia Airlines authorities said they would operate special fights on Sunday and started providing tickets from Saturday for the flights cancelled from 14 to 17 April.
The government on April 14 suspended operation of all international passenger flights to and from Bangladesh for a week to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the authorities decided the following day to operate at least 100 special flights to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman and Singapore in a week from Saturday so that several thousand migrant workers can return to work.