Several hundred Saudi Arabia bound migrant workers demonstrated at Dhaka Airport early this morning due to the cancellation of a Biman Bangladesh Airlines special flight.
BG 5039 was scheduled to depart from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 6:15am for Riyadh. But Biman was forced to cancel the special flight as Saudi authorities didn’t give landing permission, sources at the HSIA said.
Around 300 passengers, who reached the airport over six hours prior to the departure time of the flight, shouted and demonstrated when the airport and Biman authorities informed them at around 2:00am that the flight was cancelled.
An official at the HSIA said the special flight of the national airliner was cancelled as the Saudi authorities didn’t give landing permission.
Wishing anonymity, he also said all the passengers will be taken to a hotel in the city and they will fly to Saudi Arabia on the next available flight.
A total of 314 expatriate workers from different parts of the country were scheduled to board the flight, Biman sources said.
Talking to the media, severa expatriate workers said due to countrywide strict lockdown they had a very difficult time to reach the airport on time.
But at the last moment, they were informed about the flight cancellation, they added.
They said they could have avoided these untold sufferings had Biman informed them about the flight cancellation earlier.
Sources at Biman hinted that several other flights to Saudi Arabia scheduled for today might also get cancelled.
The government on April 15 decided to operate around 100 special flights to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman and Singapore in one week from today so that several thousand migrant workers who remained stuck in the country due to weeklong ban on international flights, can return to their workplaces.
The government on April 11 suspended operation of all international passenger flights to and from Bangladesh for a week from April 14 to contain spread of Covid-19.
According to Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) and Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (Atab) about 20,000 to 25,000 aspiring migrant workers were supposed to catch their due flights in a week starting from Wednesday.