Actually, Atiqul (Arsenal@LHR
), there are three BG
flights on LHR
-ZYL (Sylhet). The routing is LHR
-DAC-ZYL and the flights I am told are almost always packed (flights BG
006, 014. 016). There are no direct flights (passengers must change planes in Dhaka). I am not sure why this is set up in such a manner.
Biman charges $40 per passenger extra for the Sylhet flight (so, a passenger will pay $40 less to Dhaka, although most fare structures around the world would put ZYL and DAC at the same rate). They get away with it because they are the only ones flying direct (same plane) to ZYL.
Bangladeshis from Sylhet also have large communities in the US (particularly Queens, NY, Detroit, MI
and Paterson, NJ
) as well as Canada (mostly in Toronto) and also in the Middle East (Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh and Kuwait).
Sylhet only got a runway extension about 10 years ago, and that too not long enough for a DC-10 or Boeing 747/777, so the largest aircraft to the airport is the A310. There was a plan to extend the runway further, but nothing has been done in the past five years.
One of the reasons it is believed why Sylhet does not get the extension is that the government of Bangladesh wants to keep foreign airlines out. With Biman being the only airlines serving internationally from Sylhet, Biman enjoys a nice monopoly. A second reason is that by keeping foreign (or even long-distance Biman) flights out, the customs and other officials in Dhaka can prey on the poor and often less-educated passengers at Zia International Airport. It is sad, but very true. I have with my own eyes seen Cutoms officers speaking rudely to Sylhet-bound passengers, while at other times I have seen arriving passengers from London with a connection to Sylhet being denied boarding passes although they have confirmed or valid reservations (so that the official can facilitate the service only after the passenger bribes him). It really is sad, but it is true.
As mentioned earlier, more than 90% of Bangladeshi-Britons come from the Sylhet region, yet very little is done to make it easier for them to get to their destination.
Wasim / Planemannyc