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Biman Bangladesh to launch flight to Libya and China
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16:21, April 21, 2009

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Bangladesh's national Biman Bangladesh Airlines will fly to Libya and China soon, its first international routes after a gap of 14 years, leading daily The Financial Express reported on Tuesday.

The national airliner will start flights to Libya and China -- two of the country's fastest-growing trade partners -- next month as it sees potentially robust air traffic on the routes, the report said quoting officials.

"We're going to operate bi-weekly flights to Tripoli and Guangzhou in May," a senior Biman official was quoted as saying.

Demand for air travel between Dhaka and the Libyan capital of Tripoli has started soaring since the Libyan government last year announced to hire more than 500,000 Bangladesh workers to labor its booming construction sector, the newspaper said.

Travel traders were quoted by the newspaper as saying that at least 10,000 Libya-bound Bangladesh workers are now stranded as they get no air tickets due to lack of seats.

The oil-rich African nation will recruit about 1.0 million foreign workers, mostly from Bangladesh, to help develop its construction sector and oil industry hungry for foreign-born workforce, the report said.

Meanwhile, another Biman official said, "Trade between Bangladesh and China remains robust. The airlines flying on the route rely on the business traffic."

Biman, once the market leader, has gradually lost out to 20-oddforeign airlines, which have snared over 80 percent of the Bangladesh aviation market.

The state airline cutback half a dozen international routes and withdrew from the domestic market under pressure from a record loss of 120 million U.S. dollars in fiscal 2006-07 (July 2006-June 2007) after another 100 million U.S. dollars in losses a year earlier, the newspaper said.

Biman travels to 18 countries around the world and has the right to fly to 16 more, The Financial Express said.


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