India & Bangladesh Resume Flights in “Air Bubble”

  • The Civil Aviation Authority said that the "air bubble" system between Bangladesh and India has started from today.
  • New guidelines have been issued on a number of health and procedural issues to ensure the safety and security of passengers flying with India.
  • Airlines will also ensure social distancing on planes.

Flights between Bangladesh and India resumed on Wednesday after being closed for more than seven months due to the coronavirus epidemic. Passengers have been told to follow certain instructions to prevent coronavirus infection. The civil aviation and airport authorities have said that these flights have to follow certain rules as well as hygiene.

Safety measures at Indian airports.

The Civil Aviation Authority said that the “air bubble” system between Bangladesh and India has started from today.

Every week 26 flights from Bangladesh will fly to three airports in India and 26 flights a week from India will also come to Dhaka.

What rules to Follow?

Initially, there will be flights to Kolkata, Delhi, and Chennai, in India, and travel from Dhaka and Chittagong airports in Bangladesh. Biman Bangladesh Airlines, US-Bangla Airlines, and Novo Air will carry passengers from Bangladesh.

On the other hand, five airlines— namely, Air India, Indigo, SpiceJet, Vistara, and GoAir— will take passengers from Bangladesh.

Mofidur Rahman, chairman of the Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority, said new guidelines have been issued on a number of health and procedural issues to ensure the safety and security of passengers flying with India.

Mr. Rahman said that in order to travel by air in India, passengers have to take a PCR test from a government-designated test center 72 hours in advance. They also have to abide by the rules of the airport.

Touhid-ul-Ahsan, director of Dhaka’s Shahjalal International Airport, said the same guidelines would be followed travelling to India in the same way that steps were taken at the airport to ensure compliance with hygiene rules. Touhid-ul-Ahsan said:

“Airport rules have been changed to ensure protection from coronavirus. Sanitizers are being used at designated places at airports to ensure hygiene, airport authorities are distributing masks, checking passengers’ temperatures, and disinfecting passengers several times a day.”

In addition, the airport health authorities also verify the certificate of travel or health examination required for travel to the country.

Mofidur Rahman confirmed that flights between Bangladesh and India would go directly from Dhaka and Chittagong airports to specific Indian airports and would not be used as any kind of transit.

Social Distance on the Plane

Passengers on board Air India.

In order to ensure the health and safety of air travelers during the coronavirus epidemic, the Civil Aviation Authority has decided to take a maximum of 140 passengers on a narrow body, or a relatively small aircraft, and a maximum of 260 passengers on a wide body.

According to the director of Shahjalal International Airport, a Boeing-737 narrow body aircraft in Bangladesh usually has about 200 seats, and a wide body aircraft has 300 to 400 seats.

However, Mofidur Rahman said that even if this special seating arrangement is followed for travel to other countries, this rule will not be followed with India.

“It has been decided that the aircraft will be able to use their full capacity when flying with India. However, as a special precautionary measure, the last two rows of each aircraft will be left blank,” he said.

Earlier, the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh had said that Indian visas were being issued online for Bangladeshi nationals in nine categories.

Last week, Mohammad Mahibul Haque, senior secretary at the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, said India had stipulated that no patient could have more than one attendant. However, later in the context of the discussion in Bangladesh, a rule has been made that now there can be two or three attendants.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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