Suffering at Shah Amanat | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 14, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 14, 2012

Suffering at Shah Amanat

Flight delay forces 271 passengers to stay in Ctg for 24 hours

Two-hundred and seventy-one Biman passengers wait for their vehicles at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong to go to their hotels yesterday after their flight to Jeddah was delayed.Photo: STAR

As many as 271 Saudi Arabia-bound passengers were stranded in Chittagong for almost 24 hours as a Bangladesh Biman flight was delayed due to technical glitches.
The delay also caused 43 passengers in Dhaka to be stranded as well. The flight BG-037 to Jeddah had a stopover in Chittagong where the 271 passengers were supposed to join the passengers from Dhaka.
In Chittagong, passengers, including some 100 women and children, had to spend the night at the lounge of Shah Amanat International Airport in miserable conditions until they were accommodated in different hotels around 3:00pm yesterday.
Officials at Biman's flight control department in Dhaka said the delay was caused after technical glitches had been detected in the lone operational DC-10 aircraft prior to take off from Dhaka at 11:00pm Tuesday.
The flight finally left Dhaka around 10:30pm yesterday.
A flight-control official wishing anonymity yesterday said, "The passengers' suffering went on as the engineering section promised to repair the problems with in a short time but repeatedly extend time. After several time extensions, they finally said the flight will depart at 10:00pm today [Wednesday] and then we took the passengers to hotels."
Biman has a fleet of 13 aircraft but only eight are now operational. The flight schedule of the carrier has almost broken down. Reports of flight delays for several hours have become a regular phenomenon for the national flag carrier since three of its four aging DC-10 went out of order in the last few months.
Apart from this, an F-28 aircraft remained grounded for a long time while an Airbus A310 was stuck up in Singapore for the last few months following a dispute over overhauling charges.
Most of the passengers of the flight were on their way to Saudi Arabia to perform umrah.
Mojibur Rahman, stranded in Chittagong along with his family, said, "I was stranded in the airport lounge since 9:00 last night with my wife and child. We could not sleep the entire night," Mojibur complained yesterday.
Some of the passengers even slept on the floor, he said.
He added, "The flight was scheduled to depart at 1:30am [from Chittagong] and we reported at 9:00pm."
Instead of taking care of the passengers, the authorities kept changing the flight schedule the entire night and also in the day, he alleged.
"They gave us new schedules at 2:30am, 5:00am, 11:30am, 2:30pm and finally 11:45pm [Wednesday]," Mojibur said last night.
Contacted, Dilip Kumar Chowdhury, district manager of Bangladesh Biman, Chittagong, said the flight was delayed due to technical glitches and the passengers had been accommodated in four city hotels."

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