Air passengers increased by 38 lakh in one year
Not only Bangladesh, after the corona pandemic, air passenger transportation has increased all over the world. The annual publication of Boeing, the world-renowned aircraft manufacturer's Commercial Market Outlook, predicts that Bangladesh's annual GDP will grow at a rate of more than 5 percent by 2032, which is more than double the global GDP growth average. Also, the annual growth rate of air travel is expected to be 8.5 percent.
On the other hand, the Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority (CAAB) also predicts that the number of passengers by air from Bangladesh will increase several times in the next decade. An audit by CAAB says that in 2022, Bangladesh's airports handled about one crore passengers. Last year in 2019, this number was a little more than 85 lakh. By 2031, the number of air passengers from Bangladesh will double.
The truth of those predictions of Boeing and CAAB has also started to match in the aviation sector of the country. A recent report of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, analyzing the data of CAAB, says that air passenger transport has increased by 32 percent in the financial year 2022-23 on both domestic and international routes. In the financial year 2022-23, all airports of the country, including Shahjalal International Airport, handled 1 crore 53 lakh passengers on domestic and international routes. However, in the financial year 2021-22, the airports handled 1 crore 15 lakh passengers. And in the financial year 2020-21, the airports handled only 58 lakh passengers.
Aviation experts say that the rate of increase in the number of passengers by air was upward not only in Bangladesh but globally. Air passenger traffic rose 45.8 percent year-on-year in April despite global economic uncertainty, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported. Air passenger increased by 48 percent in April. All markets have seen strong passenger growth records. Among these, the airlines of the Asia-Pacific region are ahead again.
They say, because of these domestic and international forecasts, the government started the construction of the third terminal. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina partially inaugurated this terminal last October. It will be fully operational by the end of next year. It is being said that its size is more than double compared to Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 of Shahjalal Airport. The previous two terminals served 80 lakh passengers annually. And with the third terminal, it will be possible to serve one crore sixty lakh passengers.
The increase in passenger numbers from Bangladesh is encouraging aircraft manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus to sell their aircraft. Recently two companies have been seen courting in Dhaka to sell aircraft to Biman.
Experts say that domestic airlines do not have the capacity to transport the number of passengers. If this capacity is to be increased then they will have to buy new aircraft. Meanwhile, Biman Bangladesh Airlines is planning to buy 10 wide body aircraft (Airbus 350-800) from Airbus. They will first deliver 350 aircraft within the next year if they get the work order from Biman.
On the other hand, more than 15 foreign airlines have already shown interest in operating Bangladesh flights. These foreign airlines include Iran Air, Iraqi Air, Korean Air, Jin Air, Indonesia's Garuda Airlines, Wiz Air. Also defunct Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), British Airways. Also Emirates, Air Asia, Air Arabia operating flights from Dhaka are interested in increasing the number of flights.
Shafiul Azim, managing director and CEO of Biman, says that their network will be expanded when new aircraft arrive. The number of flights to Canada will be increased; new routes will be launched including New York flights.