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Thursday, March 6, 2008
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Biman's domestic flights partly restored

US extends NY flight agreement

Biman Bangladesh Airlines has partially resumed its domestic flights on Tuesday -- a day after cancelling all the five domestic flights due to aircraft shortage, said flight operation department of Biman.

Meanwhile, the US authorities yesterday extended an agreement with Biman Bangladesh Airlines till October 2008, leaving the option open for the national flag carrier to operate its Dhaka-New York flight in future.

Biman launched the flight in 1993 and suspended it in 2006 due to heavy loss.

Quoting Biman officials at its New York office, Khan Musharraf Hussain, Biman's deputy general manager of public relations, told The Daily Star that the JFK Airport authority has extended the agreement till October 25, 2008.

According to bilateral air service agreement (BASA) between Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of USA and Biman Bangladesh Airlines, the authorities of John F Kennedy (JFK) Airport in New York would cancel Biman's permission to operate to and from the airport unless Biman resumed its Dhaka-New York flight by March 23 this year.

In February, Biman through its New York office requested the JFK airport authorities to extend the agreement.

The Dhaka-New York flights would resume soon after Biman procures new aircraft, Biman officials told The Daily Star.

News agency BSS quoting New York office of Biman reported on Tuesday that there is a possibility of resuming the Dhaka-New York flights as the process of procuring new aircraft is under way.

Biman will seek to extend the BASA agreement again before it expires, said the Biman officials.

Explaining the reason behind the cancellation of all domestic flights, a Biman official told The Daily Star, "Biman on Monday cancelled five of its domestic flights to Chittagong, Sylhet and Cox's Bazar as all its four F-28 aircraft that are used to operate domestic flights went out of order due to technical glitches."

Biman, however, managed to resume the domestic flights Tuesday with a repaired F-28, said the official.

On Tuesday, Biman cancelled at least two domestic flights (Sylhet and Chittagong) and one international flight (Kolkata) due to aircraft shortage, the official added.

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