Private airlines have sought a waiver of various charges and cooperation from the government to cope with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on aviation.
Top officials of various airlines came up with the demand at a webinar titled "Bangladesh Aviation Sector Amid Pandemic: Challenges and Way Out", organised by Aviation and Tourism Journalists' Forum on Saturday.
Novoair Managing Director Mofizur Rahman said that the second wave of Covid has hit the industry at a time when they are trying to bounce back from the effects of the first wave.
He said, “Various aviation charges are much higher in our country compared to that of our neighbouring countries. We have said this to authorities repetitively but to no avail.”
Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh as the regulatory body and the concerned ministry must take necessary measures to remove these obstacles immediately, he added.
This sector, hit hard by the Covid-19, will not survive unless provided with policy supports from the government, said Mofizur.
Abdullah Al Mamun, managing director of US-Bangla Airlines said, despite the suspension of flights on different international routes for over a year, airlines are continuing to pay various charges to CAAB.
If this situation continues, it will be difficult to survive this pandemic for these airlines, he added.
The speaker claimed that 10 private airlines have shut down over the years and only two operators are currently in operation.
Kazi Wahidul Alam, an aviation expert, said if the regulators find out reasons for the closure of private airlines, it will be possible to overcome future crises. He thinks it will be difficult for various airlines to survive under current terms.
CAAB Chairman, Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman, said that they waived various charges but CAAB also needs money to keep civil aviation operational.
He said that the issue of reduction of various charges is related to the economy of the country and that they will discuss it with the stakeholders.
State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism, Md Mahbub Ali, at the webinar, said that the Prime Minister wants the sector to make a turnaround and all sorts of cooperation will be extended to airlines companies for their survival.