The national flag carrier of Bangladesh today announced its return to Manchester Airport, with a new service to Sylhet and Dhaka set to start in the New Year.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines will fly three times a week from the UK’s northern hub to the Bangladeshi capital and Sylhet, one of the two world’s biggest cities.
The news was announced at a special event at the British High Commission in Dhaka, attended by the Chairman- Biman Bangladesh Board of Directors, Manchester airport CEO Andrew Cowan and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who is leading a 10 day-long delegation to Bangladesh and India.
Biman will use a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the route, which will start on January 4th 2020, and will operate via the eastern Bangladeshi city of Sylhet on its return from Manchester.
It is a boost to the many Bangladeshi communities within Manchester Airport’s catchment, as well as being tipped to deliver wide ranging trade and tourism benefits. There are more than 55,000 people a year who currently travel from Manchester Airport’s catchment to Dhaka and Syhlet, with around 600,000 people travelling to destinations in Biman’s onward network.
Speaking from Dhaka, Mr Cowan said: “We have known for some time there is significant demand for a direct service to Bangladesh and so we are delighted to be confirming this news today.
“Manchester Airport is the UK’s gateway to the north of England and within our catchment area there are many long-standing Bangladeshi communities for whom this will make a massive difference.
“We know there are many northern companies with a desire to trade in Bangladesh, while we also look forward to welcoming business and leisure visitors from that part of the world.
“This long haul route is the latest we have added to Manchester in recent years, as we continue to work hard to connect the north to key international destinations.”
The announcement marks a return to Manchester for Biman, which operated a Dhaka-Manchester-New York service until 2012.
It is the first deal to be revealed as part of a visit to Bangladesh and India by a delegation spearheaded by Mr Burnham.
Speaking from the UK High Commissioner’s Residence in Dhaka, Andy Burnham said: “It is a great boost for this inaugural Greater Manchester visit to Bangladesh to achieve this new service. A direct connection between Manchester and Bangladesh will bring many trade, cultural and educational benefits and as well as being hugely valued by the many families of Bangladesh heritage living in Greater Manchester and across the North. I intend to keep building Greater Manchester’s relationship with Bangladesh over the coming years so our friends from Biman can rest assured we will do all we can to promote and support this vital route.”
The flight will operate on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday taking just 10 hours. The 787 Dreamliner will have 24 seats in business class and 247 in economy.
The Greater Manchester delegation started in Sylhet on Thursday, then moved to Dhaka will move on to Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi.
More than 30 leaders from the world’s of academia, healthcare, business and tourism are taking April, with a series of deals and partnership expected to be made.
Delegates, including Manchester Airport, will meet with civic leaders and Government officials in each location, building on the work of the Manchester India Partnership (MIP), which is chaired by Mr Cowan.
Coun Abdul Jabbar, deputy leader of Oldham Council, who is also part of the delegation, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Biman Bangladesh will be operating this direct flight from Manchester. It will be an extremely convenient service for the many people of Bangladeshi heritage living in the North West of England.
“I want to congratulate everyone concerned, especially Manchester Airport for adding this excellent service to its route network. Biman Bangladesh can be assured we will do all we can to support the route and ensure it goes from strength to strength.”
Onboard services on the Biman 787 will include a selection of inflight entertainment with a range of movies, TV, music and games. Plus, Biman has designed a range of menus to reflect the fresh, innovative cuisine of Bangladeshi culture with western flare. Return business class fares start from £1,500 and economy from £580.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines is the national flag carrier airline of Bangladesh. Its main hub is at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka and it also operates flights from its secondary hubs Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong and Osmani International Airport in Sylhet. The airline provides international passenger and cargo services to Asia and Europe, as well as major domestic routes inside Bangladesh. It has air service agreements with 42 countries and currently flies to 16 different countries. The airline was wholly owned and managed by the government of Bangladesh until 23 July 2007, when it was transformed into the country’s largest public limited company by the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh.
Sheona Southern, Managing Director at Marketing Manchester, said: “We welcome this announcement, which is timed perfectly with the Greater Manchester delegation who are currently visiting Bangladesh and India to strengthen relations across trade, tourism, sport and culture. This new route will benefit the growing community of Bangladeshi’s living in Greater Manchester and we look forward to welcoming a growth in visitors from the country.”
Tim Newns, Chief Executive of MIDAS, said: “We are pleased to welcome this new long-haul route from Dhaka, and as with all new routes, this will be of great benefit to trade and investment for both Bangladesh and Greater Manchester. The significant size of the Bangladeshi community in the region will enhance our existing trade relations and is continued support for investment in Greater Manchester.