More than 1,000 passengers of Biman Bangladesh Airlines endured untold sufferings at Dhaka and Chittagong airports for several hours yesterday due to a flight schedule disaster of the national flag carrier.
Aggrieved passengers even vandalised a Biman counter at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong around 5:30pm after Biman delayed its flight to Abu Dhabi.
The flight was initially scheduled for 11:00am but Biman officials kept on delaying the flight. They did not even provide the passengers with lunch.
In Dhaka yesterday, Biman cancelled three scheduled flights--to London, Abu Dhabi and Sylhet--due to shortage of aircraft, according to the Biman Control Room.
The disarray was due to a leased Boeing 747, which can carry 505 passengers, leaving Biman's service on September 12. The owning company of the plane pulled the aircraft out of Biman's service, without telling Biman, eight days before the lease was to end.
Moreover, an airbus which was supposed to join the fleet on September 15 after overhauling in Singapore did not arrive, Biman sources said.
Biman sources said they had planned their flight schedule and sold tickets taking into account the two aircraft, which were not there.
Biman's own four and a leased aircraft will mostly remain engaged in carrying hajj pilgrims from today.
On Saturday, some passengers, angered by a flight delay and lack of food and accommodation during the delays, vandalised Biman's Chittagong office.
The national carrier cancelled its flight to Nepal too for which the Bangladesh national football team's tour of Nepal was postponed by a day.
After around 24 hours delay, the flight to Kuwait left Shahjalal International Airport yesterday.
Passengers stuck at Dhaka and Chittagong airports yesterday said had Biman informed them of delays beforehand, they would not have suffered and waited at the airport.
They alleged that Biman authorities did not provide them with required assistance while they rescheduled or cancelled flights.
"I came to the airport around 8:00am for the Abu Dhabi flight. Biman officials delayed the flight several times and finally informed me about the cancellation," Mohammad Nazrul told The Daily Star from Chittagong airport.
Overseas job seeker Nazrul in the afternoon said he did not have any lunch or ate anything since morning as he did not have enough money on him.