Takeoff for Bangladesh’s second private passenger airline

Filed on July 10, 2007

DHAKA - Bangladesh’s second private passenger airline launched Tuesday in a fast-growing market, an official said.

United Airways’ first flight took off from the capital Dhaka for the northeastern city of Sylhet, company director Ferdous Imam said.

The market was attractive to private operators since the scrapping of a number of routes by state-run Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Imam said.

The company, owned by expatriate Bangladeshis living in Britain, have bought a Dash-8 aircraft and will add another Dash-8 in late July followed by two more Fokker 100 by August, he added.

‘We will now fly to (southeastern) Chittagong and Sylhet six days a week. But we have already got an international licence. So our target is to fly to the southern cities of China and the Gulf,’ he said.

Bangladesh’s air traffic to the Gulf and China countries has seen a huge increase in recent months, he added.

China pipped India as Bangladesh’s main import destination in 2005 while nearly three million Bangladeshis now live and work in the Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

United Airways is Bangladesh’s second private passenger airline. Presently GMG is the sole private operator and flies to domestic and regional destinations in south Asia.

GMG recently started three new international flights, just weeks after Biman axed some international routes to save cash.

Biman reported an estimated loss of 100 million dollars in the year to June this year.

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