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Dhaka seeks air links with Brunei capital
Publication Date : 19-08-2013
Bangladesh is keen to establish direct air links with Brunei in order to boost economic activities between the republic and the Sultanate, a top envoy said on Thursday.
Mohammed Abdul Hye, the high commissioner of Bangladesh for Brunei, disclosed to The Brunei Times that the two countries' national carriers, Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) and Biman Bangladesh Airlines, were currently in discussions to "establish a commercial arrangement".
"They are now in favour of working out some kind of commercial arrangement", Muhammad Abdul Hye said during an exlusive interview at the Bangladesh High Commission in Kg Sungai Akar.
"Such arrangement will allow them to sell tickets in Dhaka and the passengers can fly by Bangladesh Biman up to southern points like Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, from there RBA can take over the passengers for their round of journey to Bandar Seri Begawan."
He added that the arrangement could see both airlines cross-selling their air tickets.
"Now you cannot get any air tickets in Bangladesh for their travel to Brunei.
He said that the arrangement would see both airlines cross-promoting the sales of their air tickets.
"We need to click and match the right type of people and for that matter, we are working on this air connectivity. If there is good air connectivity, it will boost economic activities between Bangladesh and Brunei."
An email sent to RB was not unanswered as of press time.
At the moment, there are no direct flights between Bandar Seri Begawan and Dhaka, and Mohammad Abdul Hye said he understands if this is purely a business strategy.
"Perhaps Royal Brunei has their own policies, maybe they have come to a conclusion that they should concentrate on the regional markets like connecting with Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, within the Asean region," the envoy said.
"But if you look at the geographic location, Bangladesh falls within the neighbourhood so in that case, they can easily, go to Dhaka and come back to Bandar Seri Begawan, it would be equally profitable. That is my assessment."
A four-hour direct flight from Bandar Seri Begawan to Dhaka and vice versa will drastically cut down the travel time between the two countries as currently passengers would have to endure a total 10-hour travel period including lay-off time at the point of transit.
"We have excellent relations with the Gulf countries due to the presence of air connectivity. With United Arab Emirates, we have almost three flights a day. Between Dhaka and Dubai. Travel time is 5 hours. So these stations could be equally attractive."
"Maybe with this, they can start looking at the market situation. This will give us the basis for further cooperation on direct flight arrangements."
In 2008, former Bangladeshi High Commissioner to Brunei Md Hedayetul Islam Chowdhury said that the two countries were to sign an air services agreement for a Bandar Seri Begawan and Dhaka route.