Biman suspends Doha, London flights to carry more hajj pilgrims

Biman suspends Doha, London flights to carry more hajj pilgrims
Published : 13 Aug 2017, 21:24:01
Biman suspends Doha, London flights to carry more hajj pilgrims
bbarta desk
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Biman Bangladesh Airlines on Sunday suspended its all Dhaka-Doha flights and reduced flight frequency on Dhaka-London route between August 14 and 26 to use more aircraft for carrying hajj pilgrims as more than half of the hajjis are still waiting for leaving the country.
"Apart from suspending Dhaka-Doha flights, we also reduced frequency on our Dhaka-London route to make more aircraft available to operate hajj flights," Biman's General Manager (Public Relations) Shakil Meraj told BSS. 
The national carrier reduced its Dhaka-London-Dhaka route frequency to three from four flights in a week. 
"Besides, we have decided to use small carrier Boeing 737-800 ER (319-seatter) on Dubai, Maskat, Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur routes instead of Boeing 777-300 ER (419-seater) to make more large aircraft available for hajj flights," he said.
A total of 59,122 hajj pilgrims left the country for Jeddha by Biman Bangladesh and Saudia Airlines to perform hajj till today. 
Of the 59,122 pilgrims, Biman Bangladesh Airlines carried 27,844 and Saudia Airlines 31,278 till this morning, Meraj said. 
"We didn't cancel any flight for today. We are operating five hajj flights including two from Chittagong today," he said. 
Biman was forced to cancel 21 dedicated hajj flights so far due to lack of passengers. 
"In response of our earlier proposal, the Saudi Authority approved 14 extra lots for operating extra hajj flights. Now we applied for eight more slots to carry all the left behind pilgrims," Meraj said.
This year, the number of intending pilgrims is 127,198. Of them, Biman is scheduled to carry 63,600 pilgrims while rest 63,600 by Saudi Airlines which also cancelled four flights due to shortage of passengers.
Meanwhile, the High Court today directed the foreign ministry to communicate with the Saudi Arabian government to resolve the visa complexities in 48 hours for smooth journey of hajj pilgrims.
It also directed the authorities concerned of the government to hire additional flights to ferry the pilgrims who could not go to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj ritual yet, official sources said. -BSS

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