A total of around 24,600 migrant workers have left the country for their respective workplaces in five countries, including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and UAE, in the last five days since April 17 via special flights.
Air Vice-Marshal M Mafidur Rahman, Chairman, Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh, told The Daily Star.
In an inter-ministerial meeting on April 16, the government decided to operate around 100 special flights to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, UAE, and Singapore in one week from April 17 so that several thousand migrant workers who remained stuck in the country due to a weeklong ban on international flights, can return to their workplaces.
Twelve airlines were allowed to operate direct flights to these five countries. They are: Biman Bangladesh Airlines, US Bangla Airlines, Saudia, Oman Air, Salam Air, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, Fly Dubai, and Singapore Airlines.
The government, on April 11, suspended operations of all international passenger flights to and from Bangladesh for a week from April 14 to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Due to the extension of countrywide strict lockdown by another week from April 21, CAAB also extended the operation of special flights till April 28.
According to the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) and Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (Atab), about 20,000 to 25,000 aspiring migrant workers were supposed to catch their due flights in a week starting from April 14.