Biman Bangladesh Airlines today cancelled its scheduled flights from Dhaka to Abu Dhabi as the UAE government is not allowing entry for Bangladeshi passengers bearing employment visas.
The national airliner primarily cancelled its Dhaka-Abu Dhabi flight till August 31, Mokabbir Hossain, managing director (MD) and CEO of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, told The Daily Star over the phone.
Mokabbir, however, said the national flag carrier will operate weekly two flights from Abu Dhabi to Dhaka.
Cancellation of the Biman flight from Dhaka to Abu Dhabi came as a setback for Bangladeshi expatriate workers, as many migrant workers are waiting to return to their workplaces in Abu Dhabi.
Biman's MD said the flight on Dhaka-Dubai route, however, will continue.
Talking to our correspondent, Mokabbir said the UAE government is not giving clearance to Bangladeshi passengers.
"It has happened several times in recent days at Dhaka airport -- passengers complained after they failed to fly to Abu Dhabi despite having visa and other documents as the UAE government is not allowing any Bangladeshi to enter the country, despite having employment visas," said Mokabbir.
Explaining the matter, Mokabbir cited an example, saying that Biman recently sold 220 tickets to UAE bound Bangladeshi passengers for a flight.
"Of the total passengers, we could issue boarding passes to around 40 due to restrictions by the UAE government. The rest of the passengers couldn't travel and started to protest. The matter didn't end here. When the 40 passengers landed at Abu Dhabi airport, the UAE government didn't allow many of them to enter into the country," added Mokabbir.
"Considering this, we have decided to cancel the flight from Dhaka to Abu Dhabi," said Mokabbir.
Biman, on its website, said Bangladeshi passengers with employment visas are not being accepted by the authorities at present, so it is not possible for Biman Bangladesh Airlines to carry Bangladeshi passengers with employment visas to Abu Dhabi.
In a notice, Biman said, for the same reason, Biman Bangladesh Airlines will operate two weekly flights instead of six until August 31 for passengers wishing to return to Bangladesh from Abu Dhabi.
"The airline will resume passenger transport from Dhaka if the Abu Dhabi authorities agree to accept employment visa holders in the future," Biman said.