Several passengers at a public hearing yesterday expressed their grievances and dissatisfaction over the poor services at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA).
HSIA authorities organised the hearing at the Dhaka airport to improve the quality of their passenger services at the country’s largest airport.
Passengers raised a number of complaints, including delay in getting back their luggage, rude behaviour of immigration police and reluctance of airport officials to help the migrant workers who are not educated enough to deal with the airport formalities.
Abdul Malek, a migrant worker who came to Bangladesh from Bahrain after six years on a Gulf Air flight on April 3, said he was yet to get his luggage that went missing on the day he arrived.
“I am not well off. Till now I have come to the Gulf Air office at the airport from Barishal three times, but to no avail. How many more times I need to come,” he questioned.
Malek also mentioned that he had brought gifts and other household items for his family members.
In response, Nurul Islam Hawlader, general manager of airport services at Biman Bangladesh Airlines, said the airline is bound to find the passenger’s luggage within 21 days of submitting a complaint at the Lost and Found desk of Dhaka airport.
“In case of failure, the airline concerned will have to compensate the passenger,” he added.
Jakir Hossain, a Saudi Arabia-bound passenger, told the hearing that sometimes it takes one to two hour to get luggage at the airport which is painful for them.
In response, Mollah Atiar Rahman, station manager of Biman, which deals with the ground handling, said they were going to take measures so that the passengers get their luggage within an hour of landing.
Kutubuddin, a resident of Magura, said many passengers, especially the migrant workers who are not educated enough to fill up departure or arrival cards at the airport.
“Although there is a Probashi Kalyan Desk at the airport to help the migrant workers, we seldom get any help from it. Officials at the desk seem reluctant to help when we go there to seek any assistance,” he said.
In response, Tanvir Hossain, assistant director of the desk, urged the sufferers to report to the senior officials in case of any non-cooperation.
Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh Chairman Air Vice Marshal M Naim Hassan, who was present, asked officials of the desk in question to be more vigilant and remain active when an aircraft, especially from the countries where migrant workers are mostly employed, lands at the airport.
Nasir Ahmed, duty manager of Singapore Airlines, said long queues of passengers at the airport entrances had been a major cause of suffering for women and elderly passengers.
The airport authority should open one or two more entrances, he added.
In reply, the CAAB chairman said the third gate at the domestic terminal would be launched soon, adding that the construction of another gate for entering the international terminal was in progress.
Md Abdullah Shaon, who was waiting for a Qatar-bound flight, said immigration police often behave with the migrant workers inappropriately.
Shaon, while sharing his experience, said an immigration police official humiliated him by calling him “tui” (a derogatory term for you) when he was about to visit Cyprus a few years ago.
He also complained of not finding any desk to lodge such complaints.
In response, Ashrafuzzaman, additional superintendent of police, immigration police, admitted that there might be some behavioural issues among some policemen.
“But I want to assure you that I will brief all members of immigration police to change their behaviour towards the passengers and to become more cordial. Actions will be taken if any immigration police misbehaves with passengers,” he said.
Bikash Chandra Roy, a staff of Standard Bank stationed at the airport, said many washrooms of the airport are in poor condition and without adequate supply of water.
The CAAB chief gave an instant order to officials concerned to fix the problem.
In his inaugural speech, the CAAB boss said, “You all know 36 to 38 departments and organisations work at the airport to provide services to the valued passengers. We are trying to improve the quality of services at the airport but I won’t say that exceptional incidents do not take place while providing quality services to the passengers.’
About the passengers’ allegations regarding the delay in getting their luggage on arrival, Naim Hassan said: “We are taking measures so that passengers get their luggage at the quickest possible time. It takes more time to get the luggage when two to three aircraft land at the airport at the same time.