Manchester Airport introduces direct flights to Bangladesh
Date published: 08 January 2020
The first Biman Bangladesh flight lands at Manchester Airport
Biman Bangladesh Airlines celebrated the inaugural flight from Manchester Airport to Dhaka and Sylhet on Sunday (5 January), at an event attended by civic leaders and representatives from the Bangladeshi community across the North.
Passengers on the inaugural flight were greeted with a balloon arch and light refreshments at check-in and the festivities continued at the departure gate, with a traditional Bangladeshi dance performance and free gift bags given to passengers while they boarded.
Manchester Airport CEO Andrew Cowan and representatives from the airline also gave speeches.
The three-times-a-week service comes on the back of a delegation led by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham travelling to both cities in October.
Bangladesh’s national airline will operate the routes from Manchester to Dhaka and Sylhet on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a flight time of just 10 hours. The carrier will utilise two brand-new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, with 24 seats in business class and 247 in economy. Economy fares start from £580 return and business class return fares are available from around £1,500. The service will fly from Manchester to Dhaka via Sylhet and will then return to Manchester from Dhaka directly.
Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, is a vibrant megacity with over 20 million inhabitants in its wider urban area. It accounts for around 35 per cent of the country’s economy and its Mughal-era Old Quarter is packed with historic and cultural sights.
Sylhet is the largest city in Bangladesh’s north-east, with 800,000 people living in its metropolitan area. A large proportion of Northern England’s Bangladeshi population can trace its roots back to the Sylhet region, which is home to some of the oldest tea estates in the country.
There are up to 300,000 people of Bangladeshi origin in northern parts of the UK, from Birmingham to Scotland, for whom this service will be their closest direct route to Bangladesh.
Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, who was part of the delegation that travelled to Bangladesh at the end of last year, said: “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.
“We are confident it will also open up a wide range of fresh collaboration opportunities between Greater Manchester and both Dhaka and Sylhet.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “When I visited Bangladesh last year, one of the main missions for our trip was to re-establish a direct air connection between Manchester and Bangladesh. It is wonderful to see it actually starting service and we are confident that this link will bring trade, cultural and educational benefits to Greater Manchester and the rest of the country.
“Just as importantly, it should provide a vital travel route for the friends and families of people of Bangladeshi heritage living in Greater Manchester and further afield.
“I want to welcome travellers to Greater Manchester and the wider North of England – you are welcome, and we look forward to sharing our wonderful part of the world with you.”
Biman’s Regional Manager, Debabrota Mallick, said: “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.”
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