Six foreign airlines have expressed interest in operating flights to Dhaka, thanks to favourable regulatory policy, vibrant market, and high profitability.
Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air, Iran Air, Iraqi Airways have already applied to the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) while two airlines from India have shown interest, said Group Captain Chy M Zia Ul Kabir, member (flight standard and regulations of the authority.
Besides, Pakistan said its national flag carrier PIA is willing to resume direct flights to Bangladesh after almost six years.
Earlier, British Airways, one of the world's leading airlines, also officially informed CAAB that it wanted to resume operations to Dhaka after a recess of 11 years.
Garuda Indonesia and Korean Air are flag carriers of Indonesia South Korea.
Zia Ul Kabir yesterday told The Daily Star that CAAB will meet officials from Iraq and Iran.
"We have sought necessary documents from those airlines and we will verify them later. Besides, officials of CAAB will also visit those countries for audit purposes. Frequency of flights will be fixed before giving final permission," he also said.
"Seeking permission to operate flights is definitely good news for the country," Zia Ul Kabir also said.
"We have a huge market of air passengers."
Iraq and Iran have good reasons to operate flights from Dhaka because of the large number of Bangladeshis living there, he said, adding that Indonesia has become a lucrative destination for holiday makers.
South Korea's interest might be linked to cargo operations.
CAAB officials said foreign airlines must have taken note of the country's economy as well as the improved security at the airport.
"When other countries are seeing a decline in traffic, Bangladesh is seeing new airlines come. It is good news for the country's aviation industry," aviation expert Kazi Wahidul Alam told The Daily Star.
The International Air Transport Association projected that passenger growth would be 2.0 per cent globally by 2036, but it would be 3.5 per cent for Bangladesh.