DHAKA, Nov 5, 2020 (BSS) – State minister for Civil Aviation and tourism Md Mahbub Ali today urged all airlines and passengers to follow health regulations during air travel amid the fear of a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
He made the call while inaugurating the Dhaka-Delhi flight of Indian private carrier Vistara Airlines under air bubble agreement between Bangladesh and India at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport here.
The Vistara, a joint venture of Indian TATA and Singapore Airlines, will operate two weekly flights initially on Delhi-Dhaka-Delhi route every Sunday and Thursday.
Ali welcomed the ‘air bubble’ mechanism that restored the air connectivity between Bangladesh and India after more than seven months of flight suspension for containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the initiative has helped people of two neighbouring countries to travel for medical, business and other purposes.
Noting that currently Bangladesh and India are enjoying excellent bilateral relations, Ali said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working on further strengthening people to people contact between the two neighbouring countries.
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami, Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh (CAAB) Chairman Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman were also present.
Under the air bubble mechanism, air connectivity was restored On October 28 between only Bangladesh and India where no third country will be involved that means the airlines will not take any transit passengers.
As per the arrangement, three Bangladeshi airlines — Biman Bangladesh Airlines, US-Bangla Airlines, and Novo Air — can initially operate 28 flights a week while five Indian carriers — Air India, Vistara, IndiGo, SpiceJet, and GoAir — will run the same number of flights in a week.
India has already introduced such air bubble with numbers of countries like France, Germany, the UAE and Maldives whereas this is first of its kind for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh National flag carrier Biman and US-Bangla airlines have already started their operation to Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai while Novoair, another local carrier has taken preparation to reopen its Kolkata flight.
According to the CAAB, five Indian airlines will operate flights on Delhi-Dhaka-Delhi, Kolkata-Dhaka-Kolkata, Chennai-Dhaka-Chennai and Mumbai-Dhaka-Mumbai routes.
On October 9, the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh announced resumption of online visa application services for Bangladeshi citizens.
For now, visas will be provided in nine categories including medical, business, employment, journalists, diplomatic, personal, officials, UN officials, and UN diplomats, said the Bangladesh foreign ministry.