Bangladesh plans to resume international flights amid Covid-19 pandemic

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The ministry has also finalized 100% waiver of charges only for domestic travel to help airlines with the economic crisis caused by Covid-19 pandemic

The Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry has planned to resume international flights after observing international airways’ decisions.

The ministry also finalized 100% waiver of aviation charges only for domestic airlines and 50% for international airlines till December, to help airlines with the economic crisis caused by Covid-19 pandemic.

The decision was taken during a virtual meeting on Wednesday. 

State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mahbub Ali and CAAB Chairman Air Vice Marshall M Mafidur Rahman attended the meeting among others.

Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) sought an urgent waiver of charges which the ministry took under consideration and a gazette will be published after a review by the Ministry of Finance.

Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Mohibul Haque confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune after the virtual meeting with CAAB authorities.

“After observing the international airways’ decisions, we will allow permits to airlines to operate our international flights,” the secretary added.

On April 25, CAAB submitted several proposals, including seeking permission to operate flights, a waiver of aviation charges on landing, parking and housing, boarding bridge fees, security charges, route navigation facility charges, overflying, and reduction in fuel prices and charges for flights beyond optimized hours of operation.

On May 11, CAAB chairman said the proposals submitted were based on local airlines’ demands and in line with international practices being followed amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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IATA urge to deduct VAT

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged Bangladesh to reconsider the decision to impose Value Added Tax (VAT) on aeronautical services for airlines operating in the country.

A directive from Bangladesh’s National Board of Revenue (NBR) in November announced that services provided by CAAB would be subjected to 15% VAT.

In FY 2009-2010, the NBR first imposed VAT on both aeronautical and non-aeronautical charges.

IATA statistics showed that the aviation sector generates $769 million to GDP and provides 129,000 jobs at present in Bangladesh, which could rise to $2.1 billion towards GDP and 140,000 jobs by 2038.

On April 3, IATA reported that Bangladesh could see passenger demand decline by 37%, while Thailand (40%), Pakistan (40%), South Korea (40%), and Sri Lanka (44%), would face the largest impact.

On Monday, domestic flights resumed operations on a limited scale after more than two months of suspension amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Operations resumed on the Dhaka-Chittagong, Dhaka-Sylhet, and Dhaka-Saidpur routes. 

The airlines are also demanding to lift all kinds of restrictions to operate flights both on domestic and international routes.