Bangladesh’s national carrier, Biman, has its eyes set on a new route originating in Dhaka. The carrier aims to open up direct flights to Toronto starting October 2020. Passengers can then choose to fly on to New York with Air Canada.
The Daily Star reported on Friday that there is an official Air Agreement between Bangladesh and Canada. The agreement allows for Air Canada to take passengers to “any destination from Toronto.”
Managing director and CEO of Biman, Mokabbir Hossain, explains that Biman will only fly from Dhaka to Toronto. He added,
“If passengers want to go to New York from Bangladesh, they can go from Toronto. In that case, we’ll charge the passengers for a second destination to New York.”
Dhaka-Toronto-New York route
The Air Agreement between Bangladesh and Canada states that Dhaka to Toronto flights will operate at least three times a week. The average flight time between the two cities is 15-16 hours.
In January, Biman was also keen to operate a fifth-freedom route to New York, with a stopover in Manchester. This comes after Biman resumed flights from Dhaka to Manchester after a seven-year pause.
Previously, Biman flew to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The flight was via a Dhaka-Brussels-New York route. However, the airline had to drop its service to New York in 1996 after it lost a Category 1 service rating with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The rating is a must for airlines planning to fly to the US. Biman Bangladesh currently stands at a Category 2 service rating.
According to Aeronautics Online, Biman must upgrade its “safety standing before air travel between the US and Bangladesh can be established.”
This explains why services from Toronto to New York will be carried out by Air Canada instead of Biman. However, Biman is still determined to improve its classification with the FAA and might be able to do so since it has upgraded its fleet and is thriving with new expansion plans.
A similar agreement with Japan
Japan is another new destination for Biman. An existing agreement is in place, allowing the airline to fly to Tokyo shortly. The flights will begin once Japan reopens borders to international flights.
General Sales Agents will start work in Japan soon.
CEO Hossain hopes to establish a similar agreement to that which it has with Air Canada, this time with Japan Airlines. This would mean that Biman passengers will be able to fly to other destinations after landing in Tokyo. Such destinations include but are not limited to, New Zealand, Australia, and Korea.
When will Biman resume flights?
Biman flies international routes via two schedules – Winter and Summer. The winter schedule begins in October. Mid-October is also when Biman aims to start flying directly to Toronto, according to Mohibul Haque, Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry Senior Secretary.
Biman has resumed its Dhaka-London return flights on June 21st after almost three months of suspension due to COVID-19. That is not it for Biman, as more scheduled international flights will resume today and tomorrow for the airline. On July 6th, flights to Dubai return, and passengers can once more fly to Abu Dhabi via Biman from tomorrow.
Customers have to wait before flights to cities Delhi and Kolkata start again.
Additionally, CEO Hossain reveals that Biman might be launching flights to Chennai in India, Guangzhou in China, and Male in the Maldives, shortly. This is dependent on whether the destination countries are ready to accept international flights.
Charter flights ongoing
Currently, Biman has been performing several charter flights due to COVID-19. To rescue stranded Bangladeshi passengers, Biman will fly to Rome on July 6th, 9th, and 13th. It has previously operated multiple charter flights to Italy, beginning early June.
According to The New Humanitarian, there is a large population of Bangladeshi nationals living in Italy, mostly in the cities of Rome and Catania. In 2017, this number was estimated at 100,000. This means Italy has the second-largest Bangladeshi community in Europe. The UK is the first. Most of these Bangladeshi nationals run grocery stores and other businesses.
Other destinations for evacuation flights include Kolkata, Dubai, Lisbon and Madrid.
What do you think about the upcoming direct route from Dhaka to Toronto? Will you be flying with Biman Bangladesh Airlines soon? Let us know in the comments.