Bangladesh on Thursday signed an air service agreement with Myanmar to reinstate air connectivity aimed at boosting bilateral trade and tourism relations.
Deputy director general of Myanmar civil aviation Win Swe Tun and Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh chairman Mahmud Hossain signed the deal in presence of civil aviation and tourism minister Faruk Khan and secretary Khorshed Alam Chowdhury, foreign secretary Md Shahidul Huq, Biman Bangladesh Airlines managing director Kevin Steele and the delegation of Myanmar.
Speaking on the occasion, Faruk Khan said that several operators, including private airlines, would be able to operate passenger and cargo flights according to the agreement.
He said that increased frequency of flights and inclusion of private airlines would help develop tourism, enhance bilateral trade and people-to-people contact between the two neighboring countries.
‘We expect that Biman Bangladesh Airlines would be able to start operating flights on Dhaka-Yangon route by November or December this year’, Faruk Khan added.
Win Swe Tun said that this agreement would enhance bilateral trade and develop tourism between the two countries.
‘We have to discuss with the Myanmar Airlines when they would be able to operate the flights on Dhaka-Yangon route’, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Mahmud Hossain said that according to the agreement airlines of both countries could operate passenger flights as well as cargo flights.
Initially, Biman and United Airways would operate their flights on Dhaka-Yangon route, he added.
Kevin Steele said that Biman would start to operate flights on Dhaka-Yangon route by November as two new Boeings would be added to Biman’s fleet in October.
‘We are looking forward to start operating flights to China and other regions’, he added.
Kevin also said that initially Biman would operate only two flights a week on this route.
Bangladesh and Myanmar initialed air service agreement for the first time in 1977. After that, Biman started operating flights on Dhaka-Yangon route.
Later, Biman suspended its flights on this route from October 29, 2007 due to losses.
Bangladesh and Myanmar initialed the air service agreement again on January 16, 2012 to operate seven passenger flights and four cargo flights a week between the two countries. On June 20, 2012 the cabinet approved at signing the final deal.
The bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Myanmar has been taking place under the General Trade Agreement and Border Trade Agreement, signed in 1973 and 1994 respectively.
-With New Age input