Fog continues to disrupt flight operations, ferry services
Disruption in flight operations at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) in Dhaka continued for the seventh consecutive day due to dense fog, officials said today.
Visibility around the airport and its runway became so low for the last one week that the airport authority was forced to suspend flight operations in between 1:00am to 11:00am almost every day, said AKM Rezaul Karim, spokesperson of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB).
Officials of Biman Bangladesh Airlines and other private and international airlines told The Daily Star that dense fog forced them to reschedule time-table of most of their flights scheduled to land at or depart from the Dhaka airport.
Some international airlines including Saudi Arabian Airlines have changed time-table of their flights scheduled to fly in the morning to avert delay.
“Saudi Arabia operates 25 flights weekly from the HSIA. Of them, one or two are scheduled to fly in the morning from the airport. We have already changed time-table of those flights to avert delay due to fog,” Omar Khayyam, acting sales manager of Saudi Airlines, told The Daily Star.
Due to dense fog last night, one flight of Biman was forced to land at Hazrat Shah Amanat Airport in Chittagong instead of HSIA, the CAAB Spokesperson said.
The Dhaka-bound aircraft coming from Singapore was scheduled to land at HSIA at 9:27 am today. But it was diverted to Chittagong airport. The aircraft later returned back to HSIA after several hours delay, airport officials said.
Two other international flights had to hover in the sky for around an hour before landing at the Chittagong airport due to dense fog, said a CAAB official.
Flight schedule of at least 25 domestic and international flights were delayed by one to three hours due to fog, sources at the HSIA said.
ARM Sadat, airport operation and customer service manager of Novo Air, a private airliner, said through retiming the flight schedule they are trying to cope-up with the problem caused by fog.
“In case of one or two hours of delay, we are providing necessary food and other services to our passengers,” he added.
Meanwhile, disruption of ferry services on the two major routes-- Shimulia-Kathalbari and Paturia-Daulatdia -- in the Padma river continued for the last one week due to dense fog.
In Shimulia-Kathalbari, the ferries came to a complete halt from 2:00 am today to avoid any untoward incident, our Munshiganj correspondent reports quoting Shah Khaled Newaz, assistant general manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTA), Shimulia Ghat.
Ferry service in the route later resumed from 10:00 am.
Six ferries were stranded with thousands of passengers in the middle of the river amid severe cold weather, Khalid told our Munshiganj correspondent.
In Paturia-Daulatdia route, ferry services resumed after seven hours of disruption caused by dense fog.
“The ferry services were stopped from 3:30 am due to poor visibility caused by dense fog,” said Shafikul Islam, manager of BIWTC Daulatdia office.
Later, the ferry services resumed around 10:30 am as the fog disappeared, he added.
Four ferries were stuck mid-river while seven ferries were stranded at Paturia and five others were stranded at the Daulatdia ghat with vehicles and passengers causing immense suffering of the passengers, especially women and children.
Hundreds of passengers of the south and south-western districts of the country faced serious problems due to the disruption of the ferry service.
Around 600 vehicles were seen lined up at Paturia of Manikganj side while 500 were lined up at Daulatdia of Rajbari side at around 12:00 noon today.