Dhaka: Biman Bangladesh Airlines is now offering chartered flight services on domestic routes for the first time in the carrier's history.
The move follows frequent cancellations of scheduled passenger flights due to poor passenger turnout after the government partly resumed domestic air travel on three domestic routes from June 1 after more than two months of suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Biman Bangladesh Airlines is offering chartered flights to domestic destinations for family trips, at a cost of BDT 3 lac to BDT 5 lac depending on the distance," Tahera Khandaker, Deputy General Manager (Public Relations), Biman said on June 4.
Tahera Khandaker further mentioned that anyone will be able to charter Biman's aircraft for five hours for a short trip from Dhaka to any of the seven airports in Bangladesh including Saidpur, Chattogram, Sylhet, Jashore, Rajshahi, Cox's Bazar and Barishal.
"After five hours of ground time, additional charges will have to be paid," she added.
Tahera said, operating regular flights on domestic routes at the moment seems economically not viable, due to a shortage of passengers. "In this backdrop, we have decided to operate chartered flights instead of operating regular ones on the domestic routes," she added.
The national flag carrier was forced to cancel all of its 46 flights between June 1 and June 4 due to lack of passengers and due to high prices of tickets.
The maiden flight of Biman on Dhaka-Saidpur route took off on June 1 with only four passengers on board, while the return flight had 20 passengers, said Tahera.
A senior official of Biman said they did not want to operate flights while incurring losses.
"Instead of domestic flights, we are giving priority to operate chartered flights on international routes, which is profitable," the official added.