A two-day bilateral aviation meeting was held this week.
BY LUKE BODELL
Bangladesh’s aviation authority has rejected a proposal to grant fifth freedom rights to airlines from the United Arab Emirates. Nonetheless, the two countries have left the door open for a future agreement.
Fifth freedom proposal denied
The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) and UAE officials held a bilateral meeting this week to discuss the possibility of fifth freedom rights and increased flight operations. Fifth freedom rights would permit UAE carriers to carry passengers between Bangladesh and third countries.
Two days of talks concluded without any major breakthrough, with Bangladeshi authorities rejecting the request for fifth freedom rights amid concerns it would hinder the growth of local airlines.
The CAAB stated,
“Implementation of the Fifth Freedom of air rights will not be possible.”
As reported by BD News, the meeting was attended by 22 representatives from the UAE, including officials from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Air Arabia, Emirates, Etihad Airways and flydubai – Simple Flying has reached out to the airlines and will update this story accordingly.
Flights to remain the same
Another point on the agenda this week was the prospect of boosting flights between the UAE and Bangladesh, but this was also rejected – UAE-based airlines currently operate around 130 weekly flights to Bangladesh and want to further their presence in a growing aviation market.
Bangladesh’s main international airport – Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (DAC) – serving the capital Dhaka, is currently developing a third terminal and doesn’t have the capacity to handle an increase in flights.
The CAAB said,
“Currently considering the operations of the 3rd terminal at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, it will not be possible to increase the number of flights, so it has been decided to keep the current rate of flights at that level.”
The CAAB added that proposals to increase flights would be “reviewed subject to future capacity expansion of airports.” The third terminal is touted to open in 2024 – until that happens, the airport won’t be able to handle a boost in flight operations.
Fujairah agreement, Wizz Air service
CAAB spokesperson Mohammad Sohel Kamruzzaman said that Bangladesh had reached an agreement with the Emirate of Fujairah to establish air service between the two countries, dependent on their respective airport capacities.
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the UAE-based offshoot of Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air, has also been seeking rights to serve Bangladesh with flights. This has upset local airlines, who believe it will harm national interests and claim they were not consulted on the matter.
As reported by Dhaka Tribune, Biman Bangladesh Airlines Managing director and CEO, Shafiul Azim, commented,
“This (deal with Wizz Air) is totally unprofessional in terms of aviation manners. CAAB should consult with Biman before taking such a decision, as it may conflict with the country’s interests.”
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