Biman Bangladesh Airlines has again decided to resume Dhaka-Kolkata flights – which had been suspended from 12 November for an indefinite period of time – from 1 December.
Confirming the matter while speaking to The Business Standard, Biman's Managing Director Md Mokabbir Hossain said the decision was made because the company is expecting an increase in passenger numbers from December for the purposes of treatment and tourism.
If the number of passengers increases, Biman will also open flights on the Dhaka-Chennai route. The route was supposed to be introduced on 15 November, but Biman backtracked on the decision due to a lack of demand.
On 1 November, Biman resumed its flights on the Dhaka-Kolkata route, operating three a week. However, it suspended its operations within a week due to a shortage of passengers.
Currently, Biman has been operating two weekly flights on the Dhaka-Delhi route.
The national carrier recently reduced the number of weekly Dhaka-Delhi flights that had resumed on 29 October – to two from three – amid a passenger shortage.
Regular flights between Bangladesh and India resumed under a special agreement more than seven months after they were suspended due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in March.
But, the number of flyers was extremely low and the airlines experienced a 30% to 40% passenger load factor in the beginning.
Meanwhile, on its first day back at flying, local private carrier US-Bangla operated two flights – from Dhaka to Chennai and Dhaka to Kolkata. The passenger load factor was between 30% and 40%, both ways on the flights, according to the carrier.
On the Chennai route, the private airline carried 32 passengers from Dhaka and returned with 34, while on the Kolkata route, the number of travelers from Dhaka was 23, with 34 on the return flight.
The air operators are expecting a rise in passenger flow after the reopening of tourist visas.