Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
9:00 AM 8th January 2020

Biman Bangladesh Airlines Launches Manchester Services

Biman Bangladesh Airlines has launched a direct air route between Manchester and Bangladesh, signalling the start of a new era of collaboration between the two locations.

The three-times-a-week service to Dhaka and Sylhet has been welcomed by 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.

Following that visit, and the recent 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.

A return trip will take place later in the year, with Greater Manchester representatives travelling out to share expertise in areas such as infrastructure and waste management. This work builds on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by Mr Burnham and the mayor of Sylhet, the north eastern city where most of the Bangladeshis living in the North hail from.

Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, who was part of the delegation that travelled to Bangladesh at the end of last year, said: “We know there is a significant Bangladeshi community across our catchment area and this Biman Bangladesh service will be hugely popular with friends, family and business contacts travelling in both directions.

“And we are confident it will also open up a wide range of fresh collaboration opportunities between Greater Manchester and both Dhaka and Sylhet.”

Bangladesh’s national 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. Economy fares start from just £580 return and business class return fares are available from around £1,500. The service will fly from Manchester to Dhaka via Sylhet and will then return to Manchester from Dhaka directly.

Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, is a vibrant megacity with over 20 million inhabitants in its wider urban area. It accounts for around 35 per cent of the country’s economy and its Mughal-era Old Quarter is packed with historic and cultural sights.

Sylhet is the largest city in Bangladesh’s north-east, with 800,000 people living in its metropolitan area. A large proportion of Northern England’s Bangladeshi population can trace its roots back to the Sylhet region, which is home to some of the oldest tea estates in the country.