COVID-19: Biman cuts operations by 20pc, to cut 20pc more by end of this week

- A Monitor Desk Report 09 Mar, 2020 | 1547 Views|-+
Dhaka: The national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines has cut its operations by 20 per cent due to weak travel demand as the coronavirus outbreak has shaken the global aviation and tourism industry to its core.

Md Mokabbir Hossain, Managing Director and CEO of Biman Bangladesh Airlines said this today while talking to The Bangladesh Monitor at his office in the city.

In the international market, the carrier used to operate a total of 179 flights to 17 destinations prior to the coronavirus outbreak. However, the COVID-19 spread has forced the flag carrier to significantly cut its frequencies worldwide as travellers are refraining from travel to any destination.

The airline has cut its frequencies to both Bangkok and Kathmandu from seven to three, mentioned Hossain.

Previously, Biman also used to operate seven flights to Singapore. However, over coronavirus concerns, the carrier has cut two flights to the destination operating only five currently.

In addition, Biman has cut frequencies to Jeddah to four, Medina to two from four and Kolkata to nine from 14.

Moreover, the airline had to stop operating flights to Kuwait entirely after the State suspended all flights to and from Bangladesh and six other countries on March 7 over coronavirus concerns.

Even in the domestic sector, the airline has had to make cuts to meet operational cost amid weak air traffic in the wake of the coronavirus, claimed Hossain.

The airline has cut its domestic frequencies to 21 from 57 across eight destinations: Dhaka, Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Barishal, Jashore, Sylhet, Rajshahi and Saidpur, he added.

“This accounts to a fall of 20 per cent in operations. However, by the end of this week, the airline will have to cut frequencies to 40 per cent,” said the Managing Director.

“Our hands are tied. Right now, we can only take proper precautions, being aware of the do’s and don’ts of coronavirus, while hoping for the best,” concluded Hossain.

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