Passengers in the Middle East are burning at the cost of tickets

Naogaon will return to the country after six years from Saudi Arabia. Mofidur Rahman. He had to travel to Riyadh for several days to get a ticket for Biman Bangladesh Airlines. Because there are no tickets. In the end, even though the ticket was fixed, he got scared when he heard the fare. He has to pay around one and a half lakh rupees for coming and going. Before Corona, the rent was 40 to 50 thousand rupees.

Mofidur Rahman bought the ticket of Bangladesh Biman carrying the national flag with difficulty. But on the BG4040 flight, he saw that more than half of the seats on the plane were empty.

Expatriate Mofidur Rahman spoke at the landing gate of Dhaka Shahjalal International Airport on December 19. He said, ‘Fares of foreign airlines have been slashed. I thought the fare would be a little lower. But Riyadh shows that there are no empty seats. So the rent is higher. I got on the flight and saw more than a hundred seats vacant. ‘

The media has inquired about this allegation of Mofidur Rahman. It shows that on that day, there were 214 passengers from Riyadh on BG 4040 flight against 320 seats. That means 108 seats have come vacant. Of these, 206 passengers were in economy class and six were in business class.

When asked, on condition of anonymity, a senior official of the airline said that there is a lot of pressure on the passengers while leaving. There are not enough passengers to fill the seats on arrival.

The same day Turkish Airlines reported that no seats had been vacated from Riyadh on their flight. Sources at the airline’s Bangladesh office confirmed that only 232 seats on Turkish Airlines TK-622 and TK-612 flights were filled that day. 

Officials involved in ticket management said that the seats which are usually cheaper if they are sold quickly, the fare will increase gradually. This means that the demand for tickets is high, so the fare is high. But when asked how the fares look higher even when the seats are vacant, the people concerned said that in some cases the airlines have already bought several tickets for different flights. It is a kind of ‘manipulation’. Behind the group tickets, these tickets are bought cheaply and the seats are blocked. Later they show different people in a group and issue those tickets at higher prices. 

Mansur Ahmed Kalam, president of the Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB), told, “Airfares in the Middle East have more than tripled. The previous rent was 25 thousand rupees, it has increased from 75 to 80 rupees. He said, ‘Five and a half thousand seats are needed daily for passenger transport. In contrast, now all the airlines have three and a half thousand seats. There is now an unethical competition to exploit the crisis of supply and demand. Airlines must take responsibility for this. Because they are blocking tickets by syndication. They have to be held accountable. If there is any involvement of the travel agent with this then they should disclose it.

Asked why there was a sudden seat crisis, Atab said, “Saudi Arabia and the UAE have increased visa requirements. Visit visas are being issued in several other countries including Oman. Many could not return to the country due to Corona’s ban, now they are returning due to the reduction of Corona. Many expatriates want to return to work. The visa is about to expire without getting a ticket. They are being forced to buy tickets at extra prices.

“To increase the number of seats, we have asked Biman and other airlines to provide extra flights,” Atab said. We have held press conferences, we have written to the concerned ministers, even to the Prime Minister, asking for a solution. I still do not see the light of hope.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines carries 15 to 20 percent of Middle Eastern passengers. The government has no say in the fares of foreign airlines. But people in the sector have questioned why the fares of state-owned Biman Bangladesh Airlines were not kept within reach at least for the Middle East at this time.

According to Atab, a 23-hour journey from Dhaka to New York costs only Tk 75,000. But a six-hour trip to the Middle East costs 90,000 to 100,000 rupees. Tickets that used to cost Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 are no longer available for Rs 1 lakh. Earlier the fare in Dubai was 40 thousand, now it is going to be over one lakh. In Muscat, Oman, the one-way fare used to be 35,000, now all the airlines are charging 72,000 rupees.

Abul Bashar, former president of the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA), blames the aviation authorities for this. He said the domestic airlines were raising unnecessary prices in various sectors to prove themselves as profitable companies. Foreign airlines follow the aircraft and raise fares by leaps and bounds. Foreign airlines are taking extra money from Bangladesh due to the unusual increase in ticket prices. Innocent expatriate workers are being oppressed in this.

According to the concerned people, the airlines operating flights in the Middle East are increasing the minimum fare (Lower RBD) and taking extra fare for all types of seats. Most airlines are not doing ‘Lower RBD’ shows.

A review of the data has shown that the ‘budget airline’ Fly Dubai, which operates flights to the Middle East, is charging Rs. The fare of Biman Bangladesh Airlines is more than one lakh rupees, but seats are not available. The fare of these airlines including the return is one lakh 30 thousand to one and a half lakh rupees.

The fare of one-way Saudi Airlines from Dhaka to Dubai on January 10 is one lakh 31 thousand takas and the fare of Jazira Airlines is 75 thousand takas. 93,000 for Sri Lankan Airlines, 98,600 for Emirates and Etihad Airways.