LONDON – More successful route progress has come from Manchester Airport following the re-inauguration of Biman Bangladesh Airlines’ services to Dhaka and Sylhet this week.
The services will operate on a thrice-weekly basis, serving around 70,000 Bangladeshi-originated persons in the Manchester catchment area and 300,000 people between Birmingham and Scotland.
Commenting on the route launch was Andrew Cowan, Manchester Airport’s CEO who marked the new year with a new route.
“There is no better way to mark the start of a New Year than with the launch of an exciting new long-haul route from Manchester Airport like this one.”
“We know there is a significant Bangladeshi community across our catchment area and this Biman Bangladesh service will be hugely popular with friends, family and business contacts travelling in both directions”, he added.
“And we are confident it will also open up a wide range of fresh collaboration opportunities between Greater Manchester and both Dhaka and Sylhet.”
The services are being operated by the carrier’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, operating 24 seats in Business Class and 247 in Economy.
Passengers who flew on the inaugurated flight were greeted with balloon arches and light refreshments at the check-in desks, with festivities continuing on into the gate with traditional dance performances and free gift bags.
Also commenting on the route launch was Debabrota Mallick, the Regional Manager for Biman who emphasised the importance of Manchester to its business strategy.
“A direct flight from Manchester to Sylhet, and Manchester to Dhaka has been on our radar for quite some time. As part of our business strategy, our main focus has been to connect Manchester to both these thriving parts of Bangladesh.”
“Not only was this due to high demand from the Bangladeshi community in the North, but we also saw a good opportunity to increase tourism and business potential which has been increasing year-on-year”.
“After announcing the resumption of the Manchester flight, we saw the first two weeks of flights being completely sold out. We are very pleased to see such an amazing response, and more Bangladeshi passengers continuing to book through Biman Airlines.”
The partnership between Bangladesh and the UK as a whole has been strengthened following the Mayoral visit by Manchester’s Andy Burnham and Cowan, with a return delegation trip from the Bangladeshi side expected over the course of this year.
This is also a big market for Manchester, as statistically, a large proportion of Northern England’s Bangladeshi population can trace its roots back to the Sylhet region, which will help those to reconnect with loved ones thousands of miles away.
Biman’s Previous History at Manchester…
Biman previously operated to Manchester back in April 2006 where it used the airport as a transit hub, which would take passengers onwards to New York JFK.
It changed the route from Brussels to Manchester and reduced its flight schedule to only once per week due to demands from the expatriate Bangladeshi community in Northern England.
However, services came into doubt once the U.S Federal Aviation Administration placed the Bangladeshi Civil Aviation Administration into Category 2 in its safety assessment program.
This was down to the use of older aircraft in the fleet being used such as the McDonnell Douglas DC-10.
This meant that at the time, Biman was not legally allowed to change the transit destination from the Belgian capital to Ringway.
Due to the older fleets and operational difficulties into the U.S, Biman was losing around $80,000 per flight, which caused axing of routes to the likes of Manchester but also to the regional networks it had served as well.
Overall, this is a great start for the new year for Manchester Airport, especially with its transformation programme coming to fruition and advancing, month after month, with many more carriers expanding to the airport and more.
With Biman now doing a lot better than it was around a decade ago, it can now capitalise on what is a very significant market for them.