We welcome the UK government's decision to fully withdraw the two-year-long ban on direct cargo flights from Dhaka to London with immediate effect. This is because the safety and security measures at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport have improved to the satisfaction of the country. However, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh still has to recruit joint security experts, follow international standards and do three joint safety assessments a year, as recommended by the UK Transport Department. We believe that Bangladesh is quite capable of meeting all these requirements.
Since the UK is the third largest garment export destination for Bangladesh and every year more than 1,200 tonnes of cargo, mainly garments, vegetables and fruits, are carried by air from Bangladesh to the UK, this ban had affected our business seriously. During this two-year ban, the exporters had to bear an additional cost, because before going to the UK all air cargo needed to be rescreened in a third country in the Middle East, which was also time-consuming. Now that the ban has been lifted, we hope that other countries such as Germany, Australia and the EU would also follow suit.
We would also like to see that Shahjalal International Airport conforms to the international safety and security standards. Although it has already improved its safety standards by meeting important security conditions, more needs to be done. Most of all, there needs to be a proper monitoring mechanism in place which should be ensured by the civil aviation authorities. No money should be spared to ensure safety of passengers and aircraft.