Coronavirus creates air passenger crisis

The country’s airliner along with foreigner airliners are facing passenger crisis on Dhaka-China route because of the sudden effect of coronavirus,  In the meantime, the concerned airliners reduced their slots to China from their respective destinations. Some are now operating small aircrafts instead of big ones.

From Bangladesh, US-Bangla Airlines is the only private airliner that operates flight to China while China-based airliners China Southern and China Eastern Airliners operate flights in this route. All the latter operate 42 flights weekly in between China and Bangladesh.

US-Bangla Air Lines and China Southern Airlines operate flights on Dhaka- Guangzhou route while China Eastern Airlines operates flight on Dhaka- Kunming route.

Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) director AHM Touhid-Ul-Ahsan confirming this to Bangladesh Post said, “Passengers in Dhaka China routes have been reduced to a great extent following the spread of coronavirus”.

“For passenger crisis, these airliners are often cancelling their flight to and from our country. From January 21 to February 15, the number of inbound passengers was 8,800 in number while out bound passengers numbered around 6,600. China Eastern Airlines recently cancelled their 12 flights, China Southern cancelled flights of three days while US- Bangla cancelled two flights”, he added.

US-Bangla Air Lines General Manager (Public Relation) Md Kamrul Islam told Bangladesh Post, “We operate flights daily throughout the week. But from Friday, we have decided to operate three weekly flights till March 28.”

When this correspondent questioned about passengers he said, “From January 21 to February 11, on an average, in Dhaka to Guangzhou route we got 40 passengers while Guangzhou to Dhaka we get 118 passengers.”

“We are a service provider company, we are not here to count profit only. For the stranded Bangladeshi expatriate, who are continuing their effort to return to Bangladesh, for them we will continue our flight operations to China”, he further added.

However, due to the spread of coronavirus, China Eastern already reduced its flight operations. Its station manager in Dhaka informed that, until February 29, they will operate flights as per their new schedule.

As a precaution measure, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), is using an alternative way without providing boarding bridge, taking the passengers coming from China inside the airport. They are screening the passengers separately at the airport.