Flight to India may resume tomorrow
Flight operations under the air bubble agreement between India and Bangladesh are likely to resume from tomorrow instead of today, sources at the civil aviation ministry and Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh said.
Earlier, the date of resuming flights was deferred twice.
Speaking to reporters at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport yesterday, State Minister for Civil Aviation M Mahbub Ali said Bangladesh-India flights would hopefully start from tomorrow under the air bubble agreement.
Caab Chairman Air Vice Marshal Mofidur Rahman at the airport said, "We hope to issue a circular by tonight [last night] stating conditions for resuming flights with India."
Earlier on August 28, the Indian civil aviation ministry in a circular said flight operations between the two countries might resume from September 3 under the air bubble agreement.
It said passengers travelling from Bangladesh to India will be subjected to mandatory RT-PCR tests on arrival at Indian airports at their own expense.
Passengers holding tourist visas, however, will currently not be allowed to enter India, the circular added.
With rising demands in Bangladesh for resuming the flight operations, Caab on August 4 sent a letter to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India seeking approval for resumption of flights from August 11 under the air bubble agreement as daily Covid infections in both countries dropped significantly.
In response, the Indian civil aviation ministry issued a notice stating that it may resume the flights from September 3.
The circular said the ministry examined the proposal in consultation with the local health authorities and would recommend resumption of operations with seven flights a week.
Three Indian airlines will operate flights over a week -- three of SpiceJet; two of Indigo and two of Air India. The flights will be operated from the Indian cities of New Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai to Dhaka.
The Indian side is now awaiting information on flight details from the Bangladesh side.
Air bubble arrangements are temporary arrangements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They are reciprocal in nature, meaning airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits.
On August 17, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen had announced that flight operations with India will resume from August 20.
He had said India agreed to resume flights upon a request made by Bangladesh considering demands for facilitating the movement of passengers and goods.
Bangladesh suspended flight operations with India in late April following a surge in Covid cases in the neighbouring country. Movement of passengers through the land ports was also restricted.
As a result, several hundred Bangladeshis have been stranded in India for months. Most of them went there for treatment.
Besides, many Bangladeshis are also waiting to travel to India for treatment.