Friday, March 22, 2019 | ePaper

Syndicate for Hajj tickets

Minister calls meeting today

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Kamruzzaman Bablu :
Violating the government decision, the Saudi Arabian Airlines officials are allegedly planning to pocket a big sum of money from sale of tickets to Hajj pilgrims' this year.
The Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines have been asked not to issue more than 300 air tickets for pilgrims to a Hajj agency this season, but the Saudia is not complying with the government directive, sources alleged.
They said the Saudia Airlines has already issued some 45,000 tickets out of a total of 63,599 tickets for only three Hajj agencies giving the chance of syndication.
As a result, the airlines has availed the opportunity to monopolize ticketing business this season and may have collected more than Tk 45 crore extra from the Hajj agents, sources said.
They say this ticket syndicate is doing monopoly business and pilgrims and owners of a number of agencies are forced to pay extra tk 6000-8000 per ticket.
The three agencies are - Sunshine Express of Mizanur Rahman, Kazi Air of Kazi Mafizur Rahman and Al Gazi Travels of Sayem M Hasan. Of the three agencies, Sunshine got 20,000 tickets, Al Gazi Travels 15,000 and Kazi Air 10,000 tickets. Last year, the Sunshine got 18,000 tickets, Al Gazi 10,000 and Kazi Air 7,000 tickets, according to Biman officials.
In this situation, Ministry of Civil Aviation asked Saudia Airlines and Biman Bangladesh authority to know about the issue at the minister's office today.
This year, around 650 Hajj agencies will send 127,198 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj. The two carriers will carry the pilgrims to the country. The two national carriers will carry half of the total 63,599 pilgrims each to Saudi Arabia.
As per a deal between Biman Bangladesh and Saudi Arabian Airlines, both airlines would carry half of Hajj pilgrims this year. Of the 127,198 Hajj aspirants, Saudi Arabian Airlines will carry about 65000 Bangladeshi pilgrims this year and Biman the rest.
To get Hajj ticket of Saudi Airlines for sales depends on the sales ratio of Umrah, labour and visit visa tickets round the year by the selected agencies. According to sales, the airlines fixes top 30 agencies and they get 20 percent Hajj tickets for sales during the Hajj period.
As per rule, each selected agency will get maximum 2000-3000 Hajj tickets for sales. But it is alleged that only three agencies already got about 60,000 tickets. How could they get such a number of Saudi Arabian Airlines tickets, depriving other HAAB members, the people engaged in the trade questioned?
"We don't provide illegal facilities to anyone" Omar Khayyam, Sales and Marketing Manager of the Dhaka Office of Saudi Arabian Airlines, told The New Nation on Monday, when his attention was drawn to the allegation.
According to the Hajj agents, the genuine Hajj agencies would not get air tickets easily in fair price in this situation. They apprehended that they might have to pay Tk 10,000 to Tk 15,000 extra for every ticket to the syndicate members which will help them to realize at least Tk 45 crore from this unholy nexus.

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