Airlines cash in on Eid rush
Local airlines are expecting a boom in business during Eid vacations as an increasing number of people are flying home because of the heavy traffic congestions on the highways.
Four Bangladeshi airlines plan to introduce 60 additional flights on different domestic routes to meet the growing demand in the last three days of Ramadan ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.
State-owned Biman Bangladesh Airlines and three private carriers—US-Bangla Airlines, Novoair, Regent Airways—now run more than 80 domestic flights to eight destinations.
The airlines will add more flights to Saidpur and Jessore from Dhaka while the demand for such flights to Rajshahi and Barisal is also on the rise, senior executives of a number of airlines said.
Around 90 percent of the tickets on different domestic routes have already been sold out, which has prompted the airlines to add more flights.
Flights to Cox's Bazar and some international destinations will get additional traffic, Shakil Meraj, a general manager of Biman Bangladesh, told The Daily Star.
“The demand will rise from the Eid day and will continue for the next few days.” Biman along with the three private airlines is now waiting to receive the go-ahead from the Civil Aviation Authority to introduce the additional flights.
“People now prefer to fly home instead of waiting in traffic jam for hours in roads thanks to their increasing affordability and availability of domestic flights,” said Md Kamrul Islam, general manager for marketing support and public relations at US-Bangla.
US-Bangla wants to launch 30 additional flights in the three days, Islam said.“The demand for flights to Dhaka after the Eid vacations generally sees a sharp fall.”
Novoair will operate two additional flights to Saidpur and Jessore daily from June 12 and an additional flight to Rajshahi, said Mesbah Ul Haq, its head of sales and marketing.
Currently, the operator runs three daily flights to Jessore, four to Saidpur and one to Rajshahi.
“Demand for Novoair flights to Chittagong and Sylhet normally rises during Eid.”
Demand for flights to Cox's Bazar and some regional routes rises manifold during Eid, industry insiders said.
But the operators cannot add extra flights to the international destinations to cash in on the rise in demand as approvals from different global entities are involved in the process, they said. Officials of the four airlines have said they will not raise the ticket prices.
However, this correspondent has found on the website of Biman that the airline will charge Tk 7,500 for a one-way ticket to Saidpur from Dhaka on June 14.
The lowest fare for the same ticket was also found to be Tk 2,900 on June 22 and the state-run carrier has no unsold domestic ticket for June 12, 13, and 15.
The flag bearer will also face an extra pressure during Eid for the tickets it earlier sold at 20 percent discounted rates to five international destinations -- Kathmandu, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Kolkata.
Hanif Zakaria, chief commercial officer of Regent, said they can confirm the introduction of the additional flights next week after getting approval from the aviation regulator. Regent has a plan to operate 10 flights daily in the four days to Eid, he said.
On June 7, the operator will introduce an additional regular flight on the Dhaka-Chittagong route.
“We are giving more importance to the Dhaka-Chittagong route, which is the backbone of the local aviation industry,”Zakaria said.