Hajj flight disruptions: Biman loses Tk 400m in revenues

Dhaka,  Fri,  18 August 2017
Published : 09 Aug 2017, 16:07:22 | Updated : 09 Aug 2017, 16:30:12
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Hajj flight disruptions: Biman loses Tk 400m in revenues

FE Online Desk
The Biman Bangladesh Airlines lost Tk 400 million in revenues as it cancelled more than a dozen Hajj flights this year , said its top official.

Until Wednesday, the national flag carrier cancelled as many as 19 flights to Saudi Arabia due to a shortage of passengers, reports bdnews24.com.

Complications in securing visas for pilgrims this year led to the shortage of passengers.

The situation was further worsened by the Saudi authorities’ sudden move to impose an additional 2,000 riyals on pilgrims, who performed Hajj in the last two years, which came alongside a hike in the fees for guides in Saudi Arabia.

More than 7,000 pilgrims could have gone to Saudi Arabia in those cancelled flights.

"It's a very challenging situation and it needs to be improved," Managing Director AM Mosaddique Ahmed said at a media briefing.

Meanwhile UNB reports, the Saudi Arabia government has provided 14 additional landing slots to carry 4,687 hajj pilgrims who could not fly due to the cancellation of 19 hajj flights till now, Biman MD said.

He, however, said it will not be possible to use more than 7-8 slots due to the shortage of aircraft and convenient schedules. “We will ask the Saudi government to arrange more convenient slots so that we can carry all the 4,687 pilgrims.”

Replying to a query about the root of the complexities, the Biman MD said the problem has arisen for lack of coordination among the Bangladeshi hajj agencies in renting houses for pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

Replying to another question, Mosaddique said they have allocated tickets to some 150 private hajj agencies out of total 625 receiving 50 per cent advance money.

“Biman will take actions against those agencies which failed to send pilgrims to Saudi Arabia in the scheduled flights due to complexities,” he added.  

Biman started the hajj flights on July 24 and will continue till August 26.
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