Bangladesh is interested in establishing direct air links with Brunei to boost economic ties between the two countries.
Mohammed Abdul Hye, high commissioner of Bangladesh for Brunei, in an interview with The Brunei Times on Thursday said 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 which 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 RB can take over the passengers for their round of journey to Bandar Seri Begawan,” he said.
Insisting that the arrangement could see both airlines cross-selling their air tickets, he said: “Now you cannot get any air tickets in Bangladesh for their travel to Brunei.”
“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,” he added.
At the moment, there are no direct flights between Bandar Seri Begawan and Dhaka.
“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,” he claimed.
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.
However, representatives from Royal Brunei Airlines were unavailable for comments in this regard.
Previously, 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.