A total of 418 British and Turkish nationals, who were stranded in Bangladesh due to the Covid-19 pandemic, left Dhaka on Tuesday by two separate special chartered flights arranged by their respective countries.
Among the foreign nationals, 154 were Turkish and 264 were Britons.
A chartered flight of British Airways carried the UK citizens, which is the first special flight among four arranged by the British government. Another three flights of British Airways will operate on April 23, 25 and 26 to evacuate British nationals from Bangladesh.
"The British Airways flight took off from the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 4:05pm for London, carrying 254 adult and 10 infant British passengers," Director of the airport Group Captain AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan told the media.
Similarly, another chartered aircraft of the Turkish Airlines left the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for Ankara at 1:23pm with 154 Turkish citizens on board, said the airport director.
The Turkish Airlines flight also brought back 20 Bangladeshi nationals – who were stranded in Turkey due to the coronavirus outbreak – in its voyage from Ankara to Dhaka, said official sources of the Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh (CAAB).
In late March, the Bangladesh government briefed foreign envoys that it would allow foreign nationals to leave the country by chartered flights, as commercial flights were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following the announcement, 919 stranded Americans were evacuated by the US Embassy on three separate chartered flights of the Qatar Airways.
A total of 290 Australian citizens and permanent residents left Dhaka for Melbourne last Thursday night in a non-scheduled flight of the Sri Lankan Airlines.
On March 26, 354 Malaysian and Bhutanese citizens left Dhaka on three separate flights. Of them, two Druk Air flights carried 124 Bhutanese nationals and 230 Malaysians leaft in a Malaysia Airlines flight.
The Japanese government evacuated 327 of its nationals from Dhaka on April 2 through a chartered flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
A total of 123 citizens of European Union countries left Dhaka for Frankfurt, Germany on April 10 in a special chartered flight of German Condor Airlines.
On April 11, Bangladesh extended an ongoing ban on flight operations till April 30 to and from all European countries and the nations that restricted the entry of Bangladeshis to their territories, as well as on all domestic routes over coronavirus concerns.
Currently, regular commercial flights are only being operated from Bangladesh to China.