The airfares fixed for Hajj this year are already at their lowest, as the Biman Bangladesh Airlines has reduced this cost as much as possible. There is no scope for a further reduction of Hajj airfares, said Biman Managing Director and CEO Shafiqul Azim.
Making the disclosure to reporters during a press conference at Biman headquarters in the capital’s Kurmitola, he said, “The Hajj package has been finalised. Biman is only one part of the package system.
“We have been working on the Hajj flight management for three months. Our first proposal was Tk 2,10,338. It was later reduced to around Tk 1,98,797. The National Executive Committee has decided on this fare.”
Responding to a question, he added, “Some of the reasons for the hike in costs this year are the increase in taxes, USD rate, and jet fuel price. We actually had no hand in raising Hajj costs. If we compare the USD rate in terms of airfare, it would go up by 15.05 per cent.
“Due to the increase in USD value, the airfares in rupees will actually seem higher.”
He then said, “There has been a 19 per cent increase in jet fuel prices, the USD appreciated by about 25 per cent. Airport miscellaneous charges have gone up by around 18 per cent. So, there is really no chance of reducing the airfare here.”
This year, the cost of performing hajj under government management has been fixed at Tk 6,83,618.
Compared to the last year, both the packages have increased by around Tk 1.5 lakh. This year, the Hajj flight fare of Biman has increased by about Tk 58,000 to Tk 1,98,000.
Biman to operate 160 Hajj flights from May 21
At the press briefing, Shafiqul said the first flight of hajj pilgrims will start from May 21. The Biman Bangladesh Airlines will operate a total of 159 dedicated flights this year.
The national flag carrier will operate 159 pre-hajj flights and 152 post-hajj flights with its Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 aircrafts.
The Biman CEO added that 1,27,198 pilgrims from Bangladesh have received permission to perform the holy Hajj in Saudi Arabia this year. Among them, 50 per cent or 63,599 will be transported by Biman airlines.
Biman's own four Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and 787 Dreamliner will be used for pilgrim transportation. A total of 160 dedicated flights will be operated in this pre-hajj flight.
Of those, 116 flights will be operated on Dhaka-Jeddah route, 20 on Dhaka-Madinah route, 14 on Chittagong-Jeddah route, 6 on Chittagong-Madinah route, and 2 each on Sylhet-Jeddah and Sylhet-Madinah routes.