The UK government today started repatriation of its citizens who opted to go back home from Dhaka amid flight suspension due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The first batch of 264 stranded British nationals left Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) here by a special chartered flight of British Airways.
"The British Airways flight took off from HSIA at 4:05 pm for London carrying 254 adult and 10 infant British passengers," HSIA Director Group Captain AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan told media.
The UK government has arranged another three identical chartered flights of British Airways on April 23, 25 and 26 to take its citizens, mostly expatriate Bangladeshis residing in the UK, from Dhaka with accompanying transfers from Sylhet.
"I am very conscious that the process for arranging these special flights has been less smooth than we might have wished," British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson said in a video message today.
Mentioning that there are three more flights to London, the British envoy said those who didn't manage seat on today's flight there is a good chance for them to have a seat on the flight later in the week.
"It is very important that we have a sense of the overall demand in Bangladesh for British visitors to return home. If you haven't booked on our CTM portal please do that straight away, so that we know the overall numbers of people who will need to be going home," he added in the video message.
Earlier, a total of 154 Turkish citizens who were stranded here due to COVID-19 pandemic left here today by a chartered flight of Turkish Airlines.
Besides, the 4th chartered flight for US citizens arranged by the US Department of State and US Embassy in Dhaka is also scheduled to leave HSIA this evening for Washington, D.C with stopovers at Kadena Air Base, Japan and Anchorage, Alaska.
Earlier, citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Bhutan and different European countries also left here by their personal choice through chartered flights amid the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
On April 11, Bangladesh extended an ongoing ban on flight operation till April 30 to and from all European countries and the nations that restricted the
entry of Bangladeshis to their territories as well as on all domestic routes over the coronavirus fear.
Currently, regular commercial flights are being operated from Bangladesh to