Direct flights to Cairo from November
Good news for the Bangladeshis who want to see the pyramids in Egypt as direct flights between Dhaka and Cairo are set to begin on November 1.
Egyptair, the state-owned airline of Egypt, will initially operate two weekly flights between Dhaka and Cairo.
"The starting of flights from November will be a milestone for our bilateral relations," said Haytham Ghobashy, Egypt's ambassador in Dhaka, at an event at the InterContinental Dhaka yesterday.
The embassy, in association with Egyptair, Air Cairo and ALO Dhaka Aviation, arranged a ceremony for local media and different stakeholders, including travel and tour operators, to celebrate the beginning of the bilateral air connectivity.
"Egyptians have a high regard for the people of Bangladesh and are very inclined to visit this country as well," Ghobashy said.
Taking trips to and from Bangladesh and Egypt used to take several hours, excluding the various transits.
"Now, though, everything will be easier," the envoy added.
According to industry people, various airlines operate Dhaka-Cairo flights with transits in Middle East countries.
With an Egyptair flight, it would take six hours and five minutes for a passenger to reach Cairo, bringing down the time taken by the existing flights by half.
About 25,000 Bangladeshis flew to Egypt annually before the Covid-19 pandemic, and there are more than 25,000 Bangladeshi students enrolled at different Egyptian universities, especially the Al-Azhar University in Cairo.
As Egyptair commences the direct flights, it will offer a great opportunity to various stakeholders intending to visit Egypt, Europe, and North America via the airline.
Besides, it would facilitate business travel, cargo shipping, hosting Bangladeshi students in Egyptian universities, and tourists who would come to explore the multifaceted Egyptian tourism industry, Ghobashy said.
The approximate price for a return ticket is $850-950, much lower than the current fares that range from $1,350 to $1,450.
The flight will be operated through Airbus A330 and A300s and Boeing's Dreamliner aircraft.
The ambassador said businesses in both countries would have great opportunities for investments thanks to the increased connectivity.
Many Egyptians know Bangladesh through Bishwa Ijtema, the second-largest congregation of Muslims in the world after Hajj.
"But we want to attract more Egyptians through tourism in Cox's Bazar, Sylhet and Bandarban," said Syed Ali Samy, CEO of ALO Dhaka Aviation, the general sales agent of Egyptair in Bangladesh.
Samy went on to say that they wanted to start operating daily Dhaka-Cairo flights in December this year.
One of the top tourist destinations globally, Egypt is home to millennia-old monuments in the Nile Valley.
The major attractions include pyramids, the Great Sphinx of Giza and the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation.
Headquartered at the Cairo International Airport, Egyptair operates scheduled passenger and freight services to over 80 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas with a fleet of 69 aircraft.
Farhad Hossain, chief operating officer at ALO Dhaka Aviation, was present at the event.