A new private carrier, US-Bangla Airlines, launched its operation with flights on two domestic routes yesterday, aiming to grab a slice of the growing aviation market.
Starting from Dhaka, the airline will initially operate two weekly flights to Chittagong and one flight to Jessore with two 76-seater DASH-8-Q400 turboprop aircraft and will double the number of flights on the routes in August.
The airline will also operate one weekly flight to Cox's Bazar and Sylhet each from the next month.
The fares for a one-way trip to Chittagong will be Tk 3,500 to Tk 8,000 and a one-way ticket to Jessore will cost Tk 3,500 to Tk 6,500, according to the airline's website.
A concern of US-Bangla Group that runs businesses in real estate, leather, pharma and furniture as well, the airline hopes to provide passengers with better services and comfort, said Abdullah Al Mamun, managing director of the carrier.
The airline will arrange special transports equipped with Wi-Fi for passengers to and from Chittagong, Jessore and Sylhet airports and the cities and towns, it said in a statement.
US-Bangla is the fourth private airline to tap growing air traffic on local routes, aiming to benefit from expanded business activities and tourism. It came nearly one and a half years after Novoair took to the skies. Two other private local carriers, United Airways and Regent Airways, operate on domestic routes.
In 2013, 648,019 people travelled nationally by air, up 10 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (Caab).
After launching the new airline at a programme at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon asked the company's management to maintain schedule and ensure safety and comfort for passengers.
Private airlines start well, but allegations of delayed flights and passengers' sufferings surface over them later, Menon said.
The airline has received the green light from Caab after proving that it has the infrastructure, economic ability and enough capable manpower to ensure safety, said Air-Vice Marshal Mahmud Hussain, chairman of Caab.
Currently, the local carriers fly mainly from the capital to Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Sylhet and Jessore with the highest traffic flow to Chittagong, followed by Dhaka to Jessore.