After a week-long suspension, domestic flight operation resumed with good passenger turnout on the first day of resumption on Wednesday amid the second phase of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Air ticket prices, which already increased up to 25% in line with jet fuel price hikes before the lockdown, remained unchanged after flight resumption.
US-Bangla, the largest private carrier in the country, operated 10 flights from Dhaka on the first day of resumption. Though flight operation started within short notice, the passenger load factor was around 50%.
The number of passengers was satisfactory on the first day of flight resumption though operation resumed within short notice, said Kamrul Islam, general manager of US-Bangla.
He said the passenger load factor was around 50% on the first day but flights are expected to be full in the coming days.
Ticket prices remained the same as before, he said.
He also said ticket prices had already increased before the lockdown as jet fuel prices increased by Tk14 per litre from August last year to March this year.
Air operators had to adjust ticket prices to the increase in fuel prices, he added.
US-Bangla is offering tickets at a minimum of Tk3,400 on Saidpur and Rajshahi routes after flight resumption, which was below Tk3,000 before price hikes.
The private carrier announced to operate flights on six routes from Dhaka, including Chattogram, Sylhet, Jashore, Saidpur, Barishal, and Rajshahi.
Another domestic route-based private carrier Novoair is also offering tickets at the same prices after flight resumption.
The national carrier, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, announced to resume domestic flights from Tuesday on five routes from Dhaka, including Chattogram, Sylhet, Barishal, Jashore, and Saidpur.
The minimum ticket price of the airline is Tk3,200, according to its website.
Earlier on 20 April, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (Caab) decided to resume flight operations on domestic routes on a limited scale from 21 to 28 April in the face of demand from air operators.
Domestic flights were suspended from 14 April following the first phase of the lockdown imposed countrywide by the government in a bid to contain coronavirus infections.
Flight suspension halted the recovery of the aviation industry as the sector saw a dramatic turnaround in business riding on domestic operations before the lockdown.
The number of daily air travellers reached 8,362 in February, which was 17.22% higher than the pre-pandemic level of 7,133 in December 2019, according to Caab data.
However, the number of daily flights was still low compared to the pre-pandemic level.
In February, 132 flights were operated on domestic routes daily on average while the figure was 137 in December 2019.
The number of total domestic air travellers was 234,142 in February this year, which was 6% higher than 221,123 in December 2019.