Airlines prepare to partially resume flights | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 30, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:35 AM, May 30, 2020

Airlines prepare to partially resume flights

To follow health guidelines, keep at least 30pc seats vacant on each flight

The national airline Biman and two local airlines -- US-Bangla Airlines and Novoair -- are preparing to resume domestic flight operation from June 1 following the health guideline prescribed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh.

Each of Biman and Novoair is planning to operate seven flights every day while US-Bangla is preparing for 10 daily flights, sources said.

State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism M Mahbub Ali yesterday urged all air passengers to strictly follow the health regulations and social distancing directives while travelling.

Biman's Deputy General Manager Tahera Khandoker said, "We will operate morning and evening flights to Chattogram and Sylhet and three flights to Saidpur daily from June 1 using our Dash 8Q400 aircraft."

US-Bangla Airlines General Manager Kamrul Islam said they had a plan to operate six flights to Chattogram, three to Saidpur and one to Sylhet every day.

Novoair head of sales and marketing Mesbahul Islam said they would operate three flights to Chattogram, three to Saidpur and one to Sylhet daily.

CAAB Chairman Air Vice Marshall M Mafidur Rahman said to operate the domestic flights, all the airlines must adhere to the health guidelines issued by his office.

Last week, the CAAB prepared a guideline with directions to the airlines on how the flights would be operated following all health instructions and social distancing directives after the withdrawal of the current suspension.

According to the guideline, all airlines have to disinfect their aircraft every time before carrying passengers.

They will have to keep at least 30 percent seats vacant on each flight to ensure social distancing by keeping at least an empty seat between two passengers if they are not from the same family.

All staffers of airlines will have to wear masks, gloves and disposable head caps while dealing with passengers at the check-in counters while cabin crew will wear N95 or equivalent protective facial masks, goggles, disposable rubber gloves.

Staffers will have to change their facial masks after every four hours, said the guideline.

Crew members will avoid close contact with the passengers and provide only the necessary in-flight services.

No food and drinks will be served during the flights with an airtime of less than one and a half hours.

Normal meals can be served to passengers during medium and long-haul flights while all types of baby foods will be allowed to be carried.

Passengers' body temperature will be measured and they have to stand in queues in front of the check-in counters and boarding gates maintaining social distancing.

About the seat planning, it further instructed that the front or the last row of seats on each flight must remain vacant for carrying suspected coronavirus patients.

Apart from the country's main aviation hub Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, the CAAB also asked officials of the country's other two international airports in Chattogram and Sylhet and all domestic airports to carry out disinfecting activities on a regular basis.

The government had imposed a ban on international flights on March 16 and on all domestic routes on March 25 to contain the spread of Covid-19.

STATE MINISTER'S MESSAGE

In a video message, Mahbub Ali said: "I urge all air passengers to enjoy your travel following all health regulations as well as maintaining social distancing."

The government on Thursday decided to resume domestic flight operations on a limited scale from June 1 but extend the ongoing ban on international routes, except for China, till June 15 to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

M Mohibul Haque, senior secretary at the civil aviation ministry, on Thursday said after observing the situation they would consider reopening of all the seven domestic destinations, including Jashore and Rajshahi, after June 15.

 

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