POOR ground handling has been a major irritant for passengers arriving at Shahjalal International Airport. Considerable air traffic passes through Dhaka and ground handling at Shahjalal has been the worst in the region. There are 700 staff against the requirement of around 1,100 and also the existing system for luggage transfer is manual with limited intake and delivery capacities. We therefore, welcome the reported go-ahead to its modernisation plan relating to ground handling, though it should have been introduced a lot earlier.
Shamefully, it takes about 15 minutes for a passenger on arrival to collect his luggage from the conveyor belt in neighbouring Kolkata international airport whereas in Dhaka it takes about ninety minutes. Needless to say, this has affected the growth of tourism and the airport's global reputation and impacted on foreign investment prospects. At present, the ground handling earns Biman about Tk. 300 crore as revenue, but the untapped business potentials are huge for it. Various airlines are keen to connect with Dhaka which could bring a lot of business but slow ground and messed up handling has been a barrier to it.
The need for modernising ground handling is so pressing that the 2 year timeline must be met without any extension whatsoever. We also expect Biman to team up with the most credible international partner to effect the desired improvement in the important field of airport operations.