Travellers flying between the UK and Bangladesh are set to enjoy more frequent flights and a greater choice of destinations after new air services arrangements were agreed, Transport Minister Paul Clark has announced.
Following recent negotiations in Dhaka, the number of flights allowed between the two countries will more than treble from 10 to 31 services a week on each side. The new arrangements also allow airlines from either country to operate services between anywhere in Bangladesh and any UK airport. This replaces the existing regime which only allowed flights between Heathrow, Manchester and Dhaka.
This move paves the way for direct flights to the UK from Sylhet, the area in the north-east of Bangladesh from where many of the UK's large Bangladeshi community originate. The new arrangements also mean Biman Bangladeshi Airways will be free to start a new service from Dhaka to New York via Manchester, which is expected to launch later this month.
Transport Minister Paul Clark said:
"This represents a significant step forward in aviation relations between our two countries. Not only will it help deliver wide economic and consumer benefits, but it will be especially good news for the UK's large and vibrant
Bangladeshi community. With so many UK Bangladeshis having links to Sylhet, the possibility of direct flights will be especially welcome, and I would like to thank all who have worked in both countries to make this possible."
Notes to editors
1. No UK passenger airlines currently fly to Bangladesh. British Airways used to operate three passenger services per week to Dhaka but these were ended in March 2009. On the Bangladesh side, Biman Bangladesh Airlines currently operates five services per week between Dhaka and Heathrow, via Dubai and United Airways (BD) Limited started operating two services per week between Dhaka and Gatwick in November.
2. Highlights of the new arrangements are:
- agreement on a fully open Route Schedule, allowing the airlines of both sides to operate from anywhere in Bangladesh to anywhere in the UK (the previous Route Schedule only allowed services between London/Manchester and Dhaka). This will enable direct flights to the UK from Sylhet, as well as from other Bangladesh cities such as Chittagong.
- an increase in services allowed, from seven/ten per week (depending on aircraft type) to 31 per week, by aircraft of any type, split 17 to London (for the Bangladesh side) or to Dhaka (for the UK side) and 14 to other regional points in the UK (for the Bangladesh side) or to other regional points in Bangladesh (for the UK side); and
- an increase in fifth freedoms allowed and choice of points, giving the Bangladesh side fifths on 10 services per week via any two points in the Gulf and on three services per week between Manchester and New York. The UK side secured fifths on 10 services per week between any two points in India and Dhaka, and on three services per week between Dhaka and China including Hong Kong.
Press Enquires: 020 7944 3118
Out of Hours: 020 7944 4292
Public Enquiries: 0300 330 3000
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk
 The right for UK airlines to set down and pick up passengers and cargo in Dhaka originating from or bound for third countries as part of a connected service. For example, London-Bombay-Dhaka or London-Dhaka-Hong Kong.
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department