Biman Bangladesh Airlines resumed its direct Dhaka-Narita-Dhaka flight tonight while Bangladesh and Japan recently uplifted its bilateral ties to "strategic partnership" for boosting trade and security cooperation as well as increase people to people contacts.
The inaugural flight BG 0376 took off from Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 11.45pm (local time) and is scheduled to reach Narita International Airport in Japan on September 2 at 9.15 am (local time), reports BSS.
State minister for civil aviation and tourism M Mahbub Ali inaugurated the inaugural flight of the national flag carrier as the chief guest while Japan ambassador in Bangladesh Iwama Kiminori was present.
Chairman of the board of directors of Biman Bangladesh Airlines Mostofa Kamal Uddin, Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister Office Mohammad Tofazzel Hossain Miah, Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Md Mokammel Hossain, and Civil Aviation Authority Chairman Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman also joined the opening ceremony.
The state minister said Biman's direct flight to Narita will boost the bilateral ties, trade cooperation and people to people contact between Bangladesh and Japan.
The state minister expressed his hope that the Biman's direct connectivity to Japan will open new doors of trade, tourism and cultural exchanges between Bangladesh and Japan.
He said the direct air connectivity will add value to the ties between Bangladesh and Japan while the two friendly countries have elevated its bilateral relations to strategic partnership during the recent visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Tokyo.
The new flight will further strengthen the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Japan as the direct connectivity increases people to people contact between the two nations, he said.
He said the resumption of the Biman's route to Japan is part of the national flag carriers plan to expand its route to different international destinations.
The state minister hoped that the new flight would give a boost to Bangladesh-Japan bilateral trade and also attract Japanese tourists to visit exciting tourist spots of Bangladesh.
Japanese envoy hoped the Biman's Dreamliner will realize the dream of prosperity of both Bangladesh and Japan.
"Dhaka-Narita could be a promising route for Biman Bangladesh Airlines as we are expecting passengers from our neighboring countries travelers apart from the local passengers," Shafiul Azim, Managing Director and CEO of Biman Bangladesh told BSS.
The Biman Chief said the national flag carrier is planning to carry its passengers to Australia, the west coast of the United States and Canada with the help of other carriers via Japan through code sharing.
"We are exploring with other airlines interlinking or code sharing so that we can offer our passengers different routes beyond Japan like a 360 degree airline," Azim said.
He said currently Biman is working with Japan Airlines Ltd (JAL), All Nippon Airways and Air Canada for code sharing.
Code sharing is a marketing arrangement in which an airline places its designator code on a flight operated by another airline, and sells tickets for that flight.
Azim said Biman has already offer lucrative packages with more weight on baggage for its Narita route to attract travelers from Nepal and Kolkata.
Apart from Bangladeshi expatriate community, there are about 41,000 Indians, and 1.40 lakh Nepalese nationals living in Japan. "So, passengers from India and Nepal can fly to and from Japan via Dhaka in only six hours," Biman's chief said.
Besides, he said, currently many Japanese companies have been extending to their business here while numbers of Bangladeshi students are enrolling in different Japanese universities.
According to the Ministry of Justice, Japan, till 2022, there were 20,954 Bangladeshis living in Japan.
Biman will operate weekly three flights with Dreamliner 787-8 and 787-9 aircrafts.
The flight will depart from Dhaka every Friday, Monday and Wednesday and from Narita every Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Currently the national flag carrier is negotiating with Airbus, to purchase 10 brand new planes from the European aircraft manufacturer.
At present, Biman has a total of 21 aircraft in its fleet, of these, four are Boeing 777-300 ER, four are Boeing 787-8, two are Boeing 787-9, six are Boeing 737 and five are Dash 8-400 aircraft.