Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday (Aug 23) signed a fresh aviation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) after 2012 to increase flight frequency and to operate flights to all international airports in the Kingdom from any point of Bangladesh. State minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md. Mahbub Ali and Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) President Abdulaziz Al-Duailej inked the deal on behalf of their respective side at a ceremony at the Bangladesh secretariat in Dhaka, said a press release.
During the signing ceremony, visiting Saudi Arabian minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Bin Fazwan Al Rabiah, Saudi Arabian Ambassador in Bangladesh Isa Yousef Isa Al Dulaihan, Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rauf Talukdar, Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Md Mokammel Hossain and Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority (CAAB) Chairman Air Vice Marshal Md Mafidur Rahman were present, among others.
The afresh MoU will allow Bangladeshi carriers to operate 49 passengers and 21 cargo flights in a week instead of the currently fixed 49 passengers and freight flight frequency.
The deal also gives fifth freedom to four middle and long points for the cargo flights.
Moreover, the MoU will also allow Bangladeshi airlines to operate flights from any territory of Bangladesh to any Saudi Arabian international point.
Currently, Bangladesh carrier can operate flights to only four destinations – Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Medina – to Saudi Arabia as per the existing MoU signed in 2012.
On the occasion, the state minister Ali said that the Bangladesh government is working to make the country as an exclusive aviation hub under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He said under the direction of the Prime Minister the first ever Tourism Master Plan for Bangladesh has been finalized, thus Bangladesh's potential in the tourism sector has improved a lot.
He said Bangladesh will welcome Saudi investment in the tourism sector.
The Saudi Arabian minister of Hajj and Umrah said a huge number of Bangladeshi expatriates living in Saudi Arabia are playing an important role for developing both countries, so the new aviation MoU will be beneficial for the two nations.