Air communication between Bangladesh and India resumes today after a seven-month long suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, India is yet to respond to Bangladesh’s proposal for resuming road and rail communications considering the majority of the country’s people use those two modes to travel to and from the neighbouring country, sources at the foreign ministry said.
“We have agreed with the Indian proposal to resume air communication [under an air bubble agreement] between the two countries. But we have also proposed that India open the road and rail links, as most of our people travel to India through these modes,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told The Daily Star recently.
“We have stressed on the resumption of road communication…. But they are yet to give us any clear idea about it,” he said, adding that [through air travel], only rich people will be able to go to India.
According to Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation, India has created an air travel agreement with Bangladesh, effective from today. This agreement is valid till January 31.
In order to travel between the two countries, Covid-19 negative certificate is a must within 72 hours before travel, said Kamrul Islam, general manager, public relations, US-Bangla Airlines.
All passengers traveling to India will have to undergo mandatory home quarantine for seven days, authorities said.
The categories of people allowed on the flights are: Indian nationals; all Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders holding passports issued by Bangladesh; and Bangladesh nationals/residents (including diplomats), and foreigners (including diplomats) holding valid visa issued by an Indian Mission in any category covered under the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines.
On the first day of the resumption of air communication with India, US-Bangla Airlines, a leading private air operator of Bangladesh, will operate one flight each between Dhaka-Kolkata-Dhaka and Dhaka-Chennai-Dhaka.
The Chennai flight will leave the Dhaka Airport at 10:30am while the Kolkata flight will leave at 9:45am, said Kamrul Islam said.
US-Bangla Airlines will operate flights from Dhaka to Chennai via Chattogram and from Chennai to Dhaka via Chattogram every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
The national flag carrier, Biman Bangladesh Airlines will resume regular passenger flights to India from tomorrow.
Biman will operate flights on the Dhaka-Delhi-Dhaka route from October 29, Dhaka-Kolkata-Dhaka route from November 1 and Dhaka-Chennai-Dhaka route from November 15, said Tahera Khondoker, deputy general manager (public relations) of Biman.
The resumption of air communication will bring relief to many Bangladeshis, who are waiting to travel to India country for medical treatment.
Sources at the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh and the Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh said around 20 lakh Bangladeshis visit India every year by air and many of them go there for treatment.
Apart from Biman and US-Bangla, another Bangladeshi air operator, Novo Air would initially operate 28 flights a week while five Indian airlines — Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Vistara and GoAir — would operate 28 flights a week between the two countries.
Secretary of Civil Aviation Ministry Mohibul Haque said India would allow more than one attendant with each patient from Bangladesh to visit the country.
The Indian High Commission in Dhaka on October 9 said for now, visas will be issued under nine categories, including medical, business, employment, journalist, diplomatic, official, UN official and UN diplomatic.
India had stopped entry of all foreigners by halting visa approvals since March 12 following the Covid-19 outbreak across the globe.
VISTARA, SPICEJET ANNOUNCE FLIGHTS TO BD
Indian air carrier Vistara yesterday announced it would launch flight services to Bangladesh from November 5 under the recently signed bilateral air bubble agreement, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
Vistara’s announcement comes a day after budget carrier SpiceJet said it will operate flights to Dhaka and Chattogram from India starting from November 5, using bilateral traffic rights under the air bubble pact.
Vistara, a Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture, will operate special non-stop flights between Delhi and Dhaka from November 5, the airline said in a release.
SpiceJet had said it will operate non-stop flights four times a week between Kolkata and Chattogram, besides connecting Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai with Dhaka.