Large entourage of guests on Biman’s inaugural flight to Narita

Biman Bangladesh AirlinesFile photo

The Biman Bangladesh Airlines is going to re-launch direct flight to Japan’s Narita after a long pause on 1 September.

Apart from the passengers, a huge entourage of 71 people is going to Japan as guests for five days on the inaugural flight. Such a huge entourage of guests on the inaugural flight has raised questions.

According to relevant sources, the Biman authority will have to bear all the costs, including that of air fare of the guests, hotel and food costs.

The Biman authority, however, claimed to Prothom Alo that the number of guests has not been finalised as yet. The list will be finalised by next Sunday.

However, the primary list of guests on Biman’s inaugural flight to Narita includes names of 71 persons from different sectors. It has also been mentioned that the number could rise further.

The list of the guests is divided into five categories. There are names of 10 top level government representatives, including the state minister for Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, president of the parliamentary standing committee on the ministry, Bangladesh Biman chairman and members of the board of directors, in the first category. This number could be increased further.

There are names of 21 media persons in the second category. Besides, there are 24 people in the Biman team for flight assistance.

In the list of the guests, there are also names of four officials of the Global Distribution Company (GSD), who has been given the contract to provide online services for the flight such as booking tickets, and 10 officials of different travel agencies.

Speaking regarding this to Prothom Alo on Thursday, Biman Bangladesh Airlines’ managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) Shafiul Azim said, “There will be several programmes and agreement signing ceremonies to mark the inauguration of the flight. Therefore, a number of people will be needed. Nobody will be taken there without any purpose.”

“The Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and businesspersons will make the arrangement for food and accommodation of the guests. We are only bearing the air fare of the guests.”

The Bangladesh Biman launched the Dhaka-Tokyo direct flight in 1979. The flight service was temporarily closed for some time and was resumed later in 1981. After that temporary pause, the flight used to carry passengers from Dhaka to Narita.

However, the service was closed down again in 2006 due to the continuous loss.

Quoting Biman Bangladesh CEO Shafiul Azim, a UNB report says the inaugural flight will take off from Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on 1 September at 11:45 pm local time and reach Narita International Airport in Japan on 2 September at 9:15 am local time. The flight, BG-377, from Narita International Airport to Dhaka will take off on 2 September.