BSS-39 Bangladesh resumes domestic flight operations on June 1

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BSS-39

BANGLADESH-FLIGHT-RESUME-LEAD

Bangladesh resumes domestic flight operations on June 1

(update with govt circular and CAAB’s chairman’s comments )

DHAKA, May 28, 2020 (BSS) – Bangladesh today decided to resume domestic
flight operations after more than two months on a limited scale from June 1
and extend the ongoing ban on international routes till June 15 to contain
the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have decided to resume the domestic flight operations on a limited
scale initially on Dhaka-Chittagong, Dhaka-Sylhet and Dhaka-Syedpur routes
while the ongoing international flight suspension will be continued till June
15,” Civil Aviation and Tourism secretary M Mohibul Haque told BSS today.

After observing the situation of domestic flights resumption, the senior
secretary said, they would consider reopening all the seven domestic
destinations, including Jessore and Rajshahi, after June 15.

“We are also considering the withdrawal of ongoing ban on international
flight operation after June 15 depending on the situation,” he said, adding
that resumption of London flight is under consideration of the government.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) issued a
circular regarding the decision of domestic flight resumption as well as
extension of the ongoing ban on international flight operation for the
seventh consecutive time till June 15 to and from Bahrain, Bhutan, Hongkong,
India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri
Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, and the UK.

Special flights, air ambulance, relief carrying flights and emergency
landing aircraft remain out of this ban, it added.

Currently, international flights are being operated from Bangladesh to only
China.

Later, on a video message, CAAB chairman Air Vice-Marshall M Mafidur Rahman
said all the airlines must follow the prescribed guidelines, including the
social distancing instructions, issued by his office, to operate the domestic
flights.

Mentioning the decision of lingering the international flight suspension,
he said they may reconsider resuming flight operations on some international
routes under special consideration before June 15.

The decision was taken following the government’s announcement of allowing
public transportation on road, rail, waterways and air on a limited scale
starting from May 31 as the ongoing general holidays will not be extended
after May 30.

Last week, the CAAB prepared a guideline with directions to the airlines on
how the flights will be operated following all health instructions and social
distancing after the withdrawal of the current suspension.

According to the guideline, all airlines have to keep at least 30 percent
seats vacant on each flight to ensure social distancing by keeping at least a
gap of a seat between two passengers if they are not from the same family.

About the seat planning, it further instructed that the frontal or the last
row of seats on each flight must remain vacant for carrying any passenger to
be found suspected of contracting coronavirus.

If any passenger is found with Covid-19 symptoms, crew members should
immediately contact the destination airport and hand over the suspected
patient to the airport health authority after landing.

All staffers of airlines will have to wear masks, gloves and disposable
head caps while dealing with passengers at the check-in counters while cabin
crew will wear N95 or equivalent protection facial masks, goggles, disposable
rubber gloves and change facial masks every four hours, said the guideline.

Crew members will avoid close contact with passengers and provide only the
necessary in-flight services to the passengers and no food and drink will be
served in flights with an airtime of less than one and a half hours.

Normal meal can be served to passengers during medium and long-haul flights
while all types of baby foods will be allowed to be carried.

Passengers’ body temperature will be measured and they have to stand in
queues in front of the check-in counters and in front of the boarding gates
maintaining social distancing.

Earlier on May 14, the government last extended the ongoing ban on flight
operation for the sixth consecutive time till May 30 while the first ban on
some international flight were imposed on March 16 and on all domestic routes
on March 25.

Apart from Bangladesh’s main aviation hub Hazrat Shahjalal International
Airport (HSIA) in the capital, the CAAB also asked officials of the country’s
other two international airports in Chittagong and Sylhet and all domestic
airports to carry out disinfecting activities on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, different countries, including the USA, the UK, India, Japan,
Canada, Australia, Turkey, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea,
Bhutan, Myanmar and different European countries so far operated several
special chartered flights amid the flight suspension to repatriate their
citizens from here.

Bangladesh government also facilitated chartered flights to bring back its
nationals from a number of countries, including India, the UK, Singapore,
Malaysia and Thailand.

BSS/ASG/TA/GA/1948 hrs