Flight cancellation enrages expatriates

On the first day of special flight operations, expatriates protested against flight cancellation and non-issuance of tickets in different parts of the capital. 

Saudi expatriate workers have blocked up the road in the capital's Karwan Bazaar demanding issuance of flight tickets when many Middle East bound expatriates protested at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Saturday.

They said as Covid-19 situation was under control they had come to Bangladesh but now as their leave and visa validity is about to over they have to return to their workplaces, otherwise, they will lose their jobs. 

According to the expatriates, they came to know from the media that tickets of Saudi Airlines would be given from today (Saturday) and a good number of special flights will also operate.

Upon receiving such news, many Saudi Arabia bound expatriates took position in front of Saudia Airlines office at Sonargaon Hotel in Karwan Bazar while many of them reached the airport in the capital after seheri.

At Karwan Bazar, when the airlines authorities said they would not issue tickets on the pretext of lockdown and flight ban, at one stage, the expatriates blocked up the Karwan Bazar roundabout. During the blockade, all the roads in the vicinity were closed to traffic.

Later, at around 12:30 pm, the Saudi Airlines authorities took everyone to their office and promised to give them tickets.

Abdul Awal, a Saudi expatriate, who came from Feni for ticket said, "I was scheduled to leave for Saudi Arabia on April 15. But could not go due to suspension of flights. Today we could learn that ticket would  be given again. But now the airliner is saying that tickets will not be given.”  

However, no officials could not be reached for comment on the plight of the expatriates.

On the other hand, a total of seven special flights, including five by Bangladesh Biman and two by Fly Dubai, have already been cancelled which was supposed to operate on Saturday.

Shahjalal International Airport director Group Captain SM Touhidul Ahsan confirmed the information.

He said, "Biman Bangladesh Airlines has informed that the flights have been cancelled as the landing permission has not been received yet. However, they said that the flight to Jeddah will leave in the evening".

Expatriates at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport said that they came to Dhaka facing many troubles from different parts of the country during the lockdown. 

Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh had decided on April 15 to operate about 100 special flights to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, UAE and Singapore in the next one week from today to facilitate Bangladeshi workers reach their respective workplaces.