Shahab Sattar tells The Bangladesh Monitor - GMG set to operate Dhaka-Kolkata flight from Dec 31
—A Monitor Special Dhaka : After going international on September 8 this year, GMG Airlines - country's only airline in the private sector, is set to operate Dhaka-Kolkata flights from December 31. "We received the good news only yesterday," said Shahab Sattar, Managing Director, GMG Airlines divulging the news to The Bangladesh Monitor on December 15. "Initially we hope to operate twice a week to Kolkata," he said, adding the airline had sought four frequencies a week from the authorities. The government in another landmark move has designated GMG Airlines as the single designated carrier to the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo opening up the way for the Dhaka-Colombo-Male vv flights and the airline hopes the formalities would be completed soon. Consultations on flights to Katmandu are expected to be held on January 27. Once formalities for flights to Colombo and Katmandu are completed, GMG Airlines hopes to lease Fokker 100 jet aircraft to serve the three SAARC capitals of Colombo, Katmandu and Male. The Fokker 100s can seat 108 persons in one class configuration and slightly less in two class configurations. The aircraft can comfortably do the three-and-a-half hours' flight to Colombo, he said. "GMG airlines is now flying up to 55 per cent capacity in the Chittagong-Kolkata sector," he said, adding " if it rises to 60 to 65 per cent it will be okay." The airline carried 220,000 passengers this year, a rise of about 15 per cent over the last year, he said. The fuel price like - five times so far - was hurting, he said, hinting that the carrier may be forced to raise its domestic fares by Tk. 300 next month. Shahab Sattar regretted that Biman Bangladesh Airlines was yet to sign interline agreement with the GMG Airlines. "If we had interlined agreement with Biman Bangladesh Airlines we could have fed our passengers to Biman on the days we don't operate to Kolkata and vice versa." "We have signed interline agreement with almost all airlines operating to Bangladesh including a two-way agreement with British Airways," he pointed out. GMG Holidays’ Haj packages are doing well. “We cater to different sectors of the market. Our packages are all inclusive and we accommodate our pilgrims at a hotel just 15 metres away from the Holy Kaaba Sharif,” Shahab Sattar said.
[Edited 2004-12-20 09:29:27]
[Edited 2004-12-20 09:35:53]