It was indeed a job well done by Biman Bangladesh Airlines — sending all would-be hajis to Saudi Arabia by the deadline.
But the success story was marred by untold sufferings of around 300 other passengers, specially women and children.
Biman cancelled their flights to Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur and Muscat to ensure the journey of the pilgrims to Jeddah on the last day of the hajj flight, said sources in the national flag carrier.
Talking to The Daily Star, several passengers said that Biman didn’t inform them in advance about the flight cancellation.
Passengers reaching the airport burst with anger. Initially there was no Biman official available at the airport to inform them about the flight cancellation, some of them alleged.
According to the standard practice in civil aviation, the airline concerned will have to inform its passengers if it plans to cancel its flight, except for in emergency cases.
The airliner will also arrange accommodation and food for its passengers who don’t have option to go back home, according to an aviation expert.
“We will not deny that we couldn’t inform our honourable Biman passengers well ahead of the flights cancellation. We should have definitely done that. But we were very worried and busy sending all the hajj passengers to Saudi Arabia by the deadline that ended tonight [yesterday],” Biman Managing Director and CEO AM Mosaddique Ahmed told this correspondent.
Yesterday, Biman sent around 2,900 pilgrims to Jeddah by nine flights.
Of the nine, six were dedicated hajj flights and the rest were managed through cancelling the three international flights, sources said.
The Biman boss said they have ensured accommodation and food for all the passengers who opted to wait for the rescheduled flights.
The Kathmandu-bound plane was scheduled to fly at 11:35am and the two others around 8:00pm. The three flights will now take off after 24 hours from the scheduled time, sources said.
Source: The Daily Star