Home / Business / Biman resumes direct Rome flight

Biman resumes direct Rome flight

Biman Bangladesh Airlines is set to resumes its direct Dhaka-Rome-Dhaka flight early hours of Wednesday after nine years as its third European destination after London and Manchester aspiring to serve large number of expatriate Bangladeshi community residing in Italy.

Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister M Faruk Khan inaugurated the opening flight virtually at a ceremony held at at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) while the inaugural flight is schedule to depart Dhaka at 3:30am.

On the occasion, Parliamentary standing committee on Civil Aviation and Tourism Sajjadul Hasan spoke as the guest of honor, while Biman’s Managing Director and CEO Shafiul Azim chaired the event.

Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary M Mokammel Hossain, Biman’s board of directors chairman Mostafa Kamal Uddin, Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman and Italian Ambassador to Bangladesh Antonio Alessandro spoke as the special guests.

Faruk Khan said Bangladesh Airlines has taken a plan to expand its routes in line with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s vision to turn Bangladesh as an aviation hub.

He said the planning of Biman’s route expansion to different cities in Europe is a reflection of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s commitment to the expatriate Bangladeshis.

Expressing his optimism regarding commercial viability of the Rome route, Azim said the decision of resuming the flight was thoroughly assessed from a commercial standpoint while Bangladeshi expatriates in Rome have increased sevenfold since 2009.

“As per our market analysis the Dhaka-Rome-Dhaka will be another popular one like our London (UK) Toronto (Canada) and Narita (Japan) routes,” he told BSS on Monday.  Biman’s Chief said they are working on interlining with Alitalia airlines, the largest carrier of Italy to get passengers from other major cities of Italy and other European major cities.

Interlining is a commercial agreement between airlines that allows them to sell each other’s tickets and services to passengers on itineraries with more than one flight.

It is expected that the direct flight will not only cater to Dhaka-bound passengers but also serve as a hub for passengers from other cities like Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore.  Azim said he is also planning to use Rome as a stopover to Biman’s Dhaka-Toronto-Dhaka flight as currently the state-owned carrier is using Istanbul for refueling its Canada-bound flight.

“As we have set up our station in Rome, it will be cost effective if we use Rome instead of Istanbul for refueling our Toronto flight,” he said.

Bangladesh Biman initially began operating flights to Rome on April 2, 1981 and stopped on April 6, 2015, facing financial losses due to massive fuel consumption by the then DC-10 carrier and aircraft shortages.

This time, Biman will operate the Rome direct flight with its brand new state of art Boeing 787 Dreamliner that will reduce travel time between Bangladesh and Italy to just 9 hours.

Biman’s Sales and Marketing Director Mohammad Salahuddin said, so far, they are getting positive response on the route as 177 economy seats out of 247 have already been sold out for the inaugural Dhaka-Rome flight.

In return flight, Biman got more response as all the economy seats have been sold out along with 10 business-class seats.

He expected that Biman’s Dhaka-Rome-Dhaka flight will get maximum cabin factor within few months as expatriate Bangladeshis are usually buy their tickets three four months ahead of their travel date.

Between March 27 and March 31, flight BG-355 will depart Dhaka every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 2:00am local time and reach Rome at 7:00am local time.

From April 1, the flight will take off from Dhaka on every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 3:00am as per the summer schedule and arrive at the capital of Italy at 9:10am.