Biman Bangladesh Airlines celebrated the inaugural flight from Manchester Airport to Dhaka and Sylhet on Sunday, at an event attended by civic leaders and representatives from the Bangladeshi community across the North. The three-times-a-week service has been welcomed by the more than 70,000 people of Bangladeshi origin living in the North and comes on the back of a delegation led by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham travelling to both cities in October. There are up to 300,000 people of Bangladeshi origin in northern parts of the UK, from Birmingham to Scotland, for whom this service will be their closest direct route to Bangladesh.
Following that visit, and Sunday's launch of the Biman service, a series of further activities are planned to foster closer ties between the city region and Bangladesh. In the coming months, delegations from Dhaka and Sylhet will visit Manchester to explore opportunities in a range of business, cultural and educational fields. The airline will operate the routes from Manchester to Dhaka and Sylhet on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a flight time of just 10 hours. The carrier will utilise two brand-new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, with 24 seats in business class and 247 in economy.
Passengers on Sunday's inaugural flight were greeted with a balloon arch and light refreshments at check-in and the festivities continued at the departure gate, with a traditional Bangladeshi dance performance and free gift bags given to passengers while they boarded.
Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, who was part of the delegation that travelled to Bangladesh at the end of last year, said: “There is no better way to mark the start of a New Year than with the launch of an exciting new long-haul route from Manchester Airport like this one.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “When I visited Bangladesh last year, one of the main missions for our trip was to re-establish a direct air connection between Manchester and Bangladesh. It is wonderful to see it actually starting service and we are confident that this link will bring trade, cultural and educational benefits to Greater Manchester and the rest of the country. Just as importantly, it should provide a vital travel route for the friends and families of people of Bangladeshi heritage living in Greater Manchester and further afield.”