We’ve seen a lot of strange airline operations due to the global health crisis. This includes flights operating with one passenger as well the use of widebodies on short routes that typically see much smaller aircraft. Bangladesh’s latest lockdown policy, which came in to effect at 06:00 today, has resulted in another abnormal policy, where domestic flights are only allowed to carry international passengers.
A strict lockdown
With the country’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases, Bangladesh is in lockdown, with the Dhaka Tribune reporting that more severe restrictions will come into force at 08:00 local time today. This will continue through to at least midnight on August 5th with police, Bangladesh Border Guard, and the Army deployed to the streets to ensure compliance.
This lockdown will also see travel via domestic flight banned, well, mostly. There are a few exceptions, including medevac/humanitarian/relief flights, cargo flights, and the transport of international passengers.
In the backdrop of lockdown by the Government of the Peoples Republic of #Bangladesh, @NOVOAIR #flights would be temporarily #suspended till 05th August 2021. Valued passengers are requested to #rebook their journey in the future convenient schedule without paying any charge. pic.twitter.com/6ZNUIR977Q
— NOVOAIR (@NOVOAIR) July 22, 2021
Indeed, the Dhaka Tribune notes that domestic flights will continue during the lockdown, but only to facilitate the travel of international passengers from the country. A circular from Bangladesh’s Civil Aviation Authority states that domestic flights of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, US-Bangla Airlines, and NovoAir may only carry the passengers who are ultimately scheduled to board an international flight.
A similar measure was put in place during an earlier lockdown several weeks ago. At the time, The Business Standard reported that international passengers entering Bangladesh would also be able to board domestic flights to reach their final destination.
To assist with public compliance, airlines have been instructed to ensure that domestic flight tickets are issued only to the passengers having international air tickets. Additionally, airlines have been asked to check documents pertaining to passengers’ international flights.
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Restrictions on international flights
As per previous circulars issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), restrictions are in place for passenger services flying into and out of the country.
Incoming flights to Dhaka have a cap of 140 passengers for narrowbody/single-aisle jets. For widebodies/twin-aisle aircraft, the maximum number of passengers is 200. Additionally, the last row of the economy class and one seat in business class (unless otherwise instructed) “shall be kept vacant for any suspected COVID- 19 positive passenger.”
For outgoing flights, there is no capacity restriction for narrowbodies, while widebodies are restricted to carrying just 280 passengers. The CAAB notes that Boeing 777s and 747s have their own maximum, which is set at 350 passengers.
A serious fourth wave
The country of Bangladesh is in the midst of its fourth wave of coronavirus cases. The spike in new daily cases is significantly more intense than previous outbreaks, with the country thus far peaking at almost 14,000 new cases in a 24-hour period.
Have Bangladesh’s coronavirus measures affected your travel in recent times? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment.