22Members of UK Biman Approved Travel Agents’ Association convened meeting on 24th April 2015 at Banglatown, Brick Lane to welcome the incoming Biman UK & Ireland General Manager Mr Mohammed Shafiqul Islam and to bid farewell to the outgoing Country Manager Mr Atique Rahman Chisty.

Among member present in the meeting were Chair Sami Sanaullah of Travel Link, Vice Chair Helal Uddin Khan of Hillside Travels, Vice Chair Shomsul Hussain of Hussain Travel , General Secretary Ashique Rahman of Imran Travels, Treasurer Mohammed Muhibur Rahman Helal of Milfa Travels, Harun Miah of Kushiara Travels, Mudir Chowdhury of Travel Link, Tuasir Ali of Surma Travels, Azad Ahmed of Samad Overseas, Salim Miah of Alamin Travels, A K M Yahya of Aerospace Travels, Azmol Hussain of Aerolex, Nasima Hussain Shilpi of Travel Link, and from Biman were Finance Manager Mohammed Mohiuddin, Accounts Manager Nurul Afsar, Showkat Mojir, M Saeed, Mr Monshur Ali Tuhin, Mohoshin Chowdhury and others.

Sami Sanuallah formally welcomed the incoming GM Mohammed Shafiqul Islam and thanked outgoing CM Mr Chisty for his sincere efforts and support during his tenure. Further welcome messages were made by Helal Uddin Khan, Shomsul Hussain. Ashique Rahman, Muhibur Rahman Helal and others present. With Mr Chisty’s initiative passengers are availing more direct fights to Sylhet, wheelchair facility for as many as 50 passengers available at Heathrow upon request. 40kg baggage can now be shown on ticket, prior seat allocation by phoning London office, shorter time limit for un-ticketed bookings reducing GDS cost, etc.

Mohammed Shafiqul Islam assured members of his commitment to work closely with UKBATAA & its members to bring further improvements to the customer service by trying to commence direct non-stop flight from Sylhet by Boeing 777 departing Dhaka at 7.00am for Sylhet and departing 0945 from Sylhet for Heathrow from 28th October 15. The wheelchair availability to be improved and Executive/Business Class lounge to be available in Sylhet Osmani airport. Pre-assigned seat map to be available in GDS and shorter time limit for higher class bookings. More check in counter at airport to improve flight punctuality and reduce flight cancellation by advance planning. Wishing him a pleasant stay and success in his career.

Mrs Sharifa Khan, Commercial Counsellor, Bangladesh High Commission was unable to attend and extended her apology. UKBATAA Members are seeking approval from Bangladesh High Commission, London to apply for urgent no-visa exemption on behalf of passengers. Currently passengers are required to attend in person to obtain urgent no-visa exemptions.

Mr Chisty thanked everyone and said his achievement includes support from UKBATAA members and meeting the Biman MD at the airport. Mr Islam asked for UKBATAA members support to improve sales.

It was a very fruitful meeting and the members are very hopeful that direct flights to London departing from Sylhet will commence from October. Reports that the refuelling facilities at Sylhet Osmani Airport have been completed. Members are eagerly waiting to experience Sylhet Osmani as a fully-fledged operational international airport.