Everything you need to know about flight resumption
As the Covid-19 situation in the country continues to deteriorate, incoming flights from most countries remain suspended in line with the circumstances.
However, after staying suspended for nearly three months, Bangladesh has resumed scheduled flights on some domestic and international routes on a limited scale.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, a number of airlines said they are now planning to resume flight operations to and from Bangladesh.
State-run Biman Bangladesh Airlines is currently operating international flights on the Dhaka-London-Dhaka route once a week, every Sunday.
Qatar Airways is operating on the Doha-Dhaka-Doha route, but only for transit passengers whose ultimate destination is elsewhere.
Qatar Airways is operating three scheduled flights a week.
Emirates will start operating three flights a week out of the usual 21 on the Dubai-Dhaka-Dubai route from June 24.
Turkish Airlines will operate flights on the Istanbul-Dhaka route from July 2.
Thai Airways will initially operate five flights per week from August 1.
In addition to the above, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, along with local airlines US-Bangla, NovoAir, and Regent Airways have also got permission to operate international scheduled flights.
Air Arabia, flydubai, SriLankan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, and Malindo Air have sought permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) to operate their flights.
No go countries
Despite international flights resuming gradually, very recently Japan barred flights from Bangladesh, while South Korea strengthened entry restrictions for Bangladeshi people. This happened after the surge in Covid-19 cases imported from Bangladesh in the two countries.
Even though most people are avoiding travel, many are not at liberty to do so due to their jobs or residency permit related issues.
Owing to the resumption of international flights, people can now fly at a lower cost compared to what they had to pay to avail a seat on chartered flights during the pandemic, said CAAB.
Rules to follow
Flight passengers, be it a Bangladesh national or a foreigner, must carry a valid medical certificate stating they are not Covid-19 positive.
People entering Bangladesh must self-isolate for 14 days even if they do have a valid certificate.
A person will be institutionally quarantined for 14 days if they show any of the Covid-19 symptoms upon arrival.
Covid-19 certificate controversy
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 certificates have been put under scrutiny recently.
In a recent meeting, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said some Bangladeshis went to Japan and South Korea with a Covid-19-negative certificate after being tested in Bangladesh, but many of them turned out to be positive when they were tested again in those countries.
“The concern now is whether the organizations that issued the certificates are recognized institutions or these passengers were buying fake Covid-19-negative certificates to ensure their travel,” said the minister.
Japan restricted chartered flights operated by Biman, alongside the ban on regular flights. However, Japan later claimed it did not impose the flight restriction due to the validity or accuracy of medical certificates held by Bangladeshi passengers.
Meanwhile, South Korea said it will strengthen visa and entry restrictions for those from Bangladesh as the country saw a surge in Covid-19 cases imported from there.
At the same time, a temporary ban will be imposed on non-scheduled flights between South Korea and Bangladesh.
Momen said the certificate issue has “created a negative impression over receiving Bangladeshi nationals in those countries.”
On June 15, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) detained four members of a fraud ring for allegedly selling fake Covid-19 negative certificates.
RAB said the gang sells Covid-19 negative certificates for people wanting to travel overseas or join their workplaces, for Tk5,000-Tk7,000.