Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh (CAAB) has taken initiatives to modernise and expand all domestic airports of the country as well as the quality of passenger services.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority, measures have been taken to modernize and expand the domestic terminals of seven airports in the country.
Apart from three international airports- Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka, Shah Amanat International Airport, Chattogram and Osmani International Airport, Sylhet there are domestic airports in Cox's Bazar, Rajshahi, Saidpur, Nilphamari and Barisal.
Steps to modernise all domestic airports in phases
Asked about all initiatives, CAAB Chairman Air vice Marshal M Mofizur Rahman told UNB that work is underway to enhance the quality of passenger services at the seven domestic airports, including the domestic terminal at Shahjalal International Airport.
He said that the number of passengers on domestic flights has increased a lot in the country at present. Work on the landing terminal at Dhaka Airport has already started. "We hope that the expansion work will be completed soon. Everything else will be done quickly."
The chairman said there is a plan to expand the domestic terminal of Dhaka airport by the middle of this year.
The work on expanding the domestic terminal will be completed in Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport first.
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A budget has been earmarked for phasing out the domestic terminal buildings of all other airports in the same manner. Permission has already been sought from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism. The internal terminal will be further modernized.
Besides, the work of transforming Cox's Bazar Airport into an International airport is going on and the domestic terminal will be more modernized there.
According to CAAB, the initiative has been taken to handle the increasing pressure of domestic passengers as well as to enhance the quality of services. A 8,000 sq ft floor is being constructed on the second floor of the old terminal building inside Dhaka airport. Half of that floor will have two international standard lines and the other half will have passenger seats and other facilities. There will be an air conditioning system with elevators.
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He further said modern scanning machines, security equipment, two international standard lounges, seating capacity of more than 300 passengers, smoking zone, diaper changing station and mothers' corner will be set up at the domestic terminal at Dhaka Airport.
Increasing pressure on domestic flights
In this regard, the State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali told UNB that steps have been taken to modernize and expand all domestic airports in the country further as per the directives of the prime minister to enhance the quality of passenger services at airports in line with various countries in the world.
He said, "Domestic flights within the country's existing passenger transport system have been increasing at a significant rate in the last few years. The people of the country are now much more economically advanced."
Foreigners, businesspeople, and tourists are traveling more on domestic flights to save time, so the number of passengers is increasing day by day. That is why the project has been taken with emphasis on all domestic airport works, he added.
He said the waiting time of passengers at the domestic terminal in Dhaka will be made comfortable with more facilities.
All the domestic airports in the country will be arranged properly. "We have taken the initiative to provide all the facilities of the international airport to be available in the domestic airports too," he added.
According to CAAB, the security arrangements at the internal terminal are being further updated. Internal terminals will be equipped with security equipment to prevent crime. Security will be further strengthened on all routes.
Services need to be enhanced both in airports and airlines
Biman Bangladesh Airlines, US-Bangla Airlines and NovoAir operate domestic flights. However, US-Bangla Airlines has the largest number of flights.
Kamrul Islam, General Manager (Public Relations) of US-Bangla Airlines, told UNB that the number of passengers on domestic flights has increased by almost 300 per cent in 7-8 years.
Passenger facilities have not increased accordingly and the quality of passenger service has remained the same, he said.
He said airlines should not just increase the quality of passenger service. The airport must also have quality of service. In all, both airports and airlines must provide the same quality services to passengers.
He said passenger lounges have been set up in Dhaka, Cox's Bazar and Rajshahi. Similarly, the quality of passenger service needs to be enhanced with all facilities including passenger lounges at all other domestic airports.