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Indian budget carrier Vistara, started operating two flights per week on the Delhi-Dhaka route after the seven-month suspension during the pandemic. The state minister for civil aviation and tourism, Mahbub Ali, inaugurated the flights at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka in the presence of Indian high commissioner Vikram K Doraiswami and Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh chairman Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman, among others.

Vistara is a joint venture between Tata Sons Limited and Singapore Airlines Limited with Tata Sons holding the majority stake of 51 percent in the company and SIA holding the remaining 49 percent.

From now on, Vistara, one of the five airlines approved to operate Dhaka and Chattogram in Bangladesh, would fly only on Thursday and Sunday.

Addressing the program, the state minister called the airlines and its passengers to maintain all forms of health protocols prescribed for safe travel.

Under the air bubble agreement, operators from each of the countries would be allowed to operate 56 round trips.

Biman and US-Bangla got allocations of 54 round trips weekly and Novo Air got only one round trip.

‘We will not be able to operate flight until visit visa starts,’ said AKM Mahfuzul Alam, senior manager (marketing and sales) at Novo Air.

The US-Bangla Airlines general manager Kamrul Islam told New Age that the airliner has been operating all 26 approved flights weekly from Dhaka and Chattogram to Indian cities of Kolkata and Chennai since October 29.

Biman officials did not respond over the load factors while US-Bangla executives said they were still carrying around 50 percent passengers on their narrow-body aircraft.

The CAAB officials said Vistara would be operating flights to Dhaka from Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Mumbai.

Talking to New Age, a senior executive at one of the three operators said the competition with Indian operators would extremely tough due to ticket price and brand-new aircraft operated by Indian operators.

In mid of October, India urged Bangladesh to reduce both aeronautical and non-aeronautical charges for its airlines during their operations to and from Bangladesh, when resumed, to make up their losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Indian high commissioner further requested Dhaka to allow the operation of commercial flights on the Agartala–Dhaka route.

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