Four special flights for migrant workers left Dhaka today | The Daily Star
05:20 PM, April 18, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:23 PM, April 18, 2021

Four special flights for migrant workers left Dhaka today

Four out of 12 special flights, scheduled for today, left the Dhaka airport as of 3:00pm today.

Of the four flights, Biman Bangladesh Airlines operated two -- one each on Dhaka-Dammam and Dhaka-Riyadh routes, Group Captain AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan, director, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, told The Daily Star.

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He also said Oman Air operated one flight on Dhaka-Muscat route while Emirates operated one flight on Dhaka-Dubai route today.

Around 1,000 expatriate workers -- stuck in the country due to the ongoing "strict lockdown" to contain Covid-19 transmission -- returned to their workplaces in Saudi Arabia, Oman and UAE in the four flights, sources at the HSIA, said.

Director, HSIA, said there was no report so far about cancellation of any of the 12 special flights scheduled to fly today from Dhaka.

Meanwhile, several hundred migrant workers today gathered in front of Biman's Motijheel office in the capital and Saudi Arabian Airlines' office at Hotel Sonargaon for the second consecutive day to get their return tickets reissued for going back to their workplaces in different countries.

Talking to The Daily Star from in front of Saudia office, several migrant workers told this correspondent that their visas will be expired within next three to four days if they fail to go back to Saudi Arabia.

Due to a chaotic situation involving several hundred expatriate workers in front of Biman's Motijheel office, a migrant worker suffered serious injury to his chest and face as he fell on a glass door at the entrance of the office building.  

He was rushed to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Staging demonstration in front of the Biman office, many passengers said they had to face untold sufferings and had to spend a huge amount of money to reach Dhaka from different districts amid the countrywide "strict lockdown".

"But after reaching here, we are not getting information from the Biman officials on when we will be able to get our return tickets reissued," Tajuddin Ahmed, a migrant worker from Sylhet, told The Daily Star.

Aminuddin, another Saudi-bound migrant worker said he was scheduled to return to his workplace on April 16. But he couldn't fly due to the weeklong ban on international flights from Bangladesh.

Aminuddin said his visa will expire on April 21. "I will be in serious problem if I cannot go back to Saudi Arabia before my visa expires," he said.

The return of several thousand Bangladeshi expatriate workers to their workplaces abroad, particularly in Saudi Arabia, suffered a major blow yesterday due to cancellation of eight flights from Dhaka.

The government on April 14 suspended operation of all international passenger flights to and from Bangladesh for a week to contain the spread of Covid-19.

However, the authorities the following day decided to operate at least 100 special flights to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman and Singapore in a week from yesterday so that several thousand migrant workers can return to work.

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