After two months of suspension, flight operations on domestic routes finally resumed on June 1. However, even though most domestic airports of the country have started operations, Rajshahi's Shah Makhdum Airport is still closed due to the shortage of specialised doctors.
The airport has been lying shut since March 26 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, airport manager Md Sefatur Rahman said.
Last month, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) sent a letter to the Civil Surgeon of Rajshahi seeking a specialised doctor at the airport in order to maintain health guidelines, Civil Surgeon Dr Enamul Haque said. However, he was unable to do it.
"Appointing a specialised doctor at the airport is a luxury for us at the moment. We cannot even place doctors to other priority locations such as at railway stations, bus stands, and markets, which are more vulnerable than airports," Dr Haque also said.
This is because most specialised doctors are busy dealing with patients at hospitals, he said.
"Besides, what will be the function of a specialist doctor at the airport when necessary testing equipment aren't available there?" the civil surgeon said, adding, "The airport already has a deputy assistant community medical officer appointed who can perform primary check-ups."
While airports at Chattogram, Sayedpur, Sylhet, Jashore and Barishal have began operation in three phases, airports at Rajshahi and Cox's Bazar are yet to open, airport manager Sefatur said.
He said the airports are unable to begin operations due to lack of doctors.
However, the authorities are considering reopening the airports with the medical officers or by appointing authorised doctors, he said.
"Our staffers are attending office regularly, waiting for orders for opening the airport," Setafur said. "We are ready to resume operations."