Biman Bangladesh Airlines has cancelled all 24 flights scheduled to operate today and tomorrow on three domestic routes due to lack of passengers.
"We were forced to cancel all our scheduled flights for today and tomorrow as the number of passengers were very low," Tahera Khandaker, deputy general manager (public relations) of Biman, told The Daily Star.
Post shutdown, the maiden flight of Biman on Dhaka-Saidpur route took off on Monday with only four passengers on board while the return flight had 20 passengers, said Tahera.
Except for the Dhaka-Saidpur-Dhaka flight, the national airliner had to cancel 10 others flights on Chattogram and Sylhet routes on June 1 -- the day regular flight operations resumed on a limited scale on the three domestic routes after more than two months of suspension due to coronavirus.
Yesterday, Biman had also cancelled all 12 flights on the three routes due to lack of passenger, Tahera said.
According to sources, the price difference between the national flag carrier and private operators was one of the main reasons behind the passenger shortage.
Biman was charging Tk 3,000 to 3,200 or more as starting price for tickets while two private airlines -- US-Bangla and Novoair -- charged Tk 1,999 as starting price for the same routes.
Apart from Biman, US-Bangla Airlines was forced to cancel two of its flights on Monday due to passenger shortage, said Kamrul Islam, general manager (public relations) of the leading private air operator.
Novoair, another private airlines, however, was able to operate all seven scheduled flights to its three destinations from the capital since flight operations resumed on June 1.
Talking to The Daily Star, a senior official of Biman said they do not want to operate their flights, incurring loss.
"Other airlines are operating their flights at a reduced price. But we don't want to do unhealthy business," he said wishing anonymity.
"Our starting price is Tk 3,000 to Tk 3,200 while other air operators are offering tickets at Tk 2,000 to Tk 2,500. We will not operate our flights this way," he also said.
"Instead of domestic flights, we are giving priority to chartered flights on international routes which is profitable," he added.