INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIVITY has received a boost with news that Biman Bangladesh Airlines is to restart operations from Manchester Airport. Flights to Dhaka/Shahjalal are scheduled to return on January 4, with thrice-weekly rotations using Boeing 787 Dreamliners The new links are due to operate via the eastern city of Sylhet on its return from the UK and the relaunch is likely to be particularly welcomed by the estimated 70,000-strong Bangladeshi population living in the airport catchment area.
To mark the announcement, a special event was held at the British High Commission in Dhaka, attended by senior representatives including Manchester Airport CEO Andrew Cowan and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, who led a ten day long delegation from northwest England to South Asia.
Speaking from the Bangladeshi capital, Cowan commented: “We have known for some time there is significant demand for a direct service to Bangladesh and so we are delighted to be confirming this news. This longhaul route is the latest we have added to Manchester in recent years, as we continue to work hard to connect the north to key international destinations.” Data supplied by Manchester Airport suggests more than 55,000 people a year currently travel from the region to Dhaka and Syhlet, with around 600,000 people travelling to destinations in Biman’s onward network. The announcement marks a return to the northern city for Biman, which operated a Dhaka- Manchester-New York service until 2012.
The carrier’s main hub is at Dhaka/Shahjalal, with additional flights from its secondary hubs at Chittagong/Shah Amanat and Sylhet/Osmani. It has air service agreements with 42 countries and currently flies to 16 different nations. The airline was wholly owned and managed by the government of Bangladesh until July 2007, when it was transformed into the country’s largest public limited company by the caretaker government.