114 stranded Bangladeshis return from UK
A total of 114 Bangladesh citizens, mostly students, reached Dhaka from London this morning.
They were stranded in the UK since suspension of international flights between Dhaka and London in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
A Biman Bangladesh Airlines special chartered flight -- BG 4041 -- carrying the Bangladesh citizens departed London at 7:45pm (London Time).
The flight reached at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 9:40am, Tahera Khandakar, deputy general manager (public relations) of Biman told UNB.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem saw off the returning passengers at the Heathrow Airport in London.
Earlier at the request of Bangladesh High Commission in London, the government arranged the flight, being operated by the national flag carrier and chartered by Bangladesh Air Force Welfare Trust (BAFWT).
The high commission facilitated the return of the Bangladeshis after forming a Covid-19 Emergency Repatriation Committee.
Initially, more than 200 stranded Bangladeshi citizens, including students, booked their flight, but many of them had cancelled their booking at the very last moment citing personal reasons and in the fear of institutional quarantine in Bangladesh on their arrival.
However, the high commission has already provided all the passengers with a health certificate based on their health assessment so that they would be directed to home quarantine only.
Similarly, the high commission has assured all passengers travelling from Dhaka to London that they would be guided to home quarantine.
"We are grateful to Bangladesh Government, specially to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina; and for the initiative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bangladesh Air Force in particular for chartering this flight," said High Commissioner Tasneem.
From the high commission, she said, they are relieved that they could reunite the Bangladeshi citizens, in particular students, stranded in the UK with their families in Bangladesh before Eid-ul-Fitr.
"We would also like to thank the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK Home Office, UK Border Agency, London Heathrow Airport Authorities and Biman Bangladesh Airlines for their tremendous support to ensure the safe return of the stranded Bangladeshis during this difficult time of unprecedented coronavirus pandemic," said the high commissioner.