In order to prevent carrying of illegal and contaminated goods by private helicopters, the government has asked the authorities concerned to ensure that the service providers prepare tracking software tool soon. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal came up with the directive at an inter-ministerial meeting held at the conference room of the home ministry recently. The secretaries of the Public Service Division and the civil aviation ministry, representatives of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), and the chiefs of different intelligence and law enforcement agencies were present at the meeting. The home minister also asked the CAAB to scan the passengers and their luggage properly before allowing them to board the copters. He also asked the authorities concerned to construct helipads in all upazila areas so that the choppers can operate smoothly after completing all the formalities for security clearance.
According to sources, the home minister asked the civil aviation ministry to prepare a policy to help monitor the flight operations of private chopper services, which are now gaining popularity among businessmen as well as professionals who preferred the service to cut down on travel time around the country. In the meeting, the representative of the civil aviation ministry said 30 helicopters were being operated across the country by various private companies. “Separate infrastructure, two scanning machines and a tracking device would be set up in the landing areas in Dhaka to scan the passengers and their baggage to ensure the flight security,” a senior home ministry official said.
“We have also asked the owners of private aviation companies to take clearance from the CAAB before operating their flights and inform the intelligence agencies about the lists of passengers,” he added.
Sources said most of the private helicopter services have two types of copters — Bell-404 and Robinson R-66. The fares for Bell-404 are Tk 115,000 (excluding 15 per cent VAT) for each hour of flight for five persons, while for a four-seater Robinson helicopter, the companies charge Tk 72,000 (excluding 15 per cent VAT) per hour.
People even book helicopters in advance for occasions like Eid, marriage ceremonies, business meetings and for emergencies.
A private helicopter can fly to any place within a short time for emergency services like air ambulance and business purposes.
Square Air Ltd, a sister concern of Square Group, Meghna Aviation Limited, an enterprise of Meghna Group of Industries, BRB Air Limited, South Asian Airlines, Bangla International Airlines Limited, Impress Aviation Limited and R&R Aviation provide helicopter services in the country.