Domestic carriers fleece home-goers before Eid

Dhaka,  Tue,  26 September 2017
Published : 18 Jun 2017, 22:23:27
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Domestic carriers fleece home-goers before Eid

Agents, airlines accused of creating crisis
FE Report


Passengers of domestic airlines are no benefiting from low-fares as travel agents either book or buy discounted tickets to charge extra later, passengers said.  

People are now desperately seeking air tickets to ensure a hassle-free journey home on the occasion of Eid-ul-fitr to be celebrated on June 26 or 27, subject to moon-sight.

Airlines said most of the tickets of flights on Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Jessore, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Saidpur and Barisal routes from June 20 to July 5 had already been booked or sold out.

Home-goers, however, said the airlines, which had many lucrative offers in normal days, are charging exorbitantly on tickets now.

Domestic airlines such as Bangladesh Biman, US Bangla, Novoair and Regent Airways are now busy carrying domestic passengers ahead of the Eid.

"Tickets from Dhaka to Saidpur were priced at Tk 2,000 to Tk 3,200 in May, but it has climbed to Tk 7,200 to Tk 8,400 each now days before Eid," Md Sajibur Rahman, said an official of a private bank.

He said that lower price of air tickets has attracted thousands of middle-class people to travel by air in the country.

The airlines are now enjoying surplus passengers thanks to such middle-income customers, he added.

"The earlier price (price of May) was affordable to buy three tickets for my family, but as price has more than doubled, many customers like me will be deprived of smooth journey by air ahead of Eid," he said.         

Experiences were same for the passengers of other routes like Jessore, Chittagong, and Cox's Bazar.  

Secretary general of Passengers' Welfare Association Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury told the FE that no individual passenger could secure air tickets at discounted rate ahead of this Eid.

He said that the dominance of travel agents and airlines officials is responsible for the increased prices of 'discounted' tickets.

Md Masudur Rahman, a Rangpur-based travel agent, said a good portion of air tickets were booked by travel agents by March last.

He said some of the pricier tickets were in companies' hand, which could be purchased online too.

US Bangla deputy general manager Md Kamrul Islam said once only the upper class people enjoyed air trips, but the condition has changed as the emerging middle and upper middle class also prefer to travel by air now.

He said the awful road communications and scarcity of tickets had imposed extra pressure on airlines.

He noted that there are various categories of tickets in a plane.

He said the discounted tickets for all routes are sold out much earlier while some high-end tickets of every route remained unsold.

Novoair manager (marketing) A K M Mahfuzul Alam said most of the tickets of Jessore, Chittagong, Saidpur and Sylhet routes were sold out, while tickets for other destinations are also in high demand.

He said a total of 18 flights would leave Dhaka during Eid vacation, of which one-third would fly to Chittagong.

He said the private carrier's capacity was more than 1,100 persons a day while the demand is ten times higher.

According to the Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB), the airlines can at best carry domestic 7,200 passengers a day but the demand is more than 20,000 on occasions like Eid.

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