Hajj flight successfully operated this year
Biman carried 66,000 pilgrims
Kamruzzaman Bablu :
Biman Bangladesh Airlines has made successfully operated this year's hajj flight operation carrying a record number of pilgrims.
Official sources said, the national flag carrier set a target of transporting 63,600 pilgrims this year. But it finally carried about 66,000 pilgrims surpassing the target.
Even, no hajj flight of Biman was cancelled setting a good precedent.
A total of 127,152 pilgrims from Bangladesh were carried two airlines. Among them Biman ferried 66,000, including hajj management members, while the Saudi Airlines carried the rest. Biman's pre-hajj flights kicked off on July 4. The return hajj flights will start on August 17 and will continue till September 15.
"Biman carried a record number of hajj pilgrims and maintained a smooth hajj flight operations this year taking advantage of authorities' zero tolerance policy on ticket sale and proper hajj management," Md Mohibul Haque, Secretary of Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry told The New Nation yesterday.
He added, Biman had not cancelled a single hajj flight for the first time in recent years as irregularities of hajj operators could be prevented though proper hajj management.
Biman had to cancel at least 20 hajj flights last year due to mismanagement and irregularities of some hajj agencies.
"Hajj management this year was closely monitored by the Prime Minister's Office. Besides, a team up by the officials of Civil Aviation and Religious Affairs ministries, and Biman officials and employees helped the national flag carrier to maintain the smooth hajj flights," noted Mohibul Haque.
He hoped that Bangladesh would be able to achieve a more record in the near future taking advance of a good management practice and zero tolerance policy on corruption.
Officials said, Biman has made profit from operating hajj flights this year, though it reduced plane fare by Tk 10,000 for each hajj pilgrim.
Biman took Tk 128,000 from each hajj pilgrim as airfare this year, which was Tk 1,38,191 last time.
"The deduction in airfare forced Biman to incur Tk 63 crore revenue loss. Despite this, the national flag carrier could earn profit from this year's hajj flight operation," a Biman official told The New Nation on Saturday.
The authorities even provided Tk 5,000 additional incentives to each Biman's 2,350 fouth calass contractual employees beyond their stipulated salary and allowance to share the profit made from hajj flights.
Shahadat Hossain Taslim, President of Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB), said the hajj flight operation was very smooth this year compared to that of the previous years due to all-out efforts taken by the government and hajj agencies.
Moreover, for the first time this year, the immigration formalities of nearly half of Bangladeshi pilgrims were completed in Dhaka, which also helped much to make the hajj flights smooth, he added.