Country’s airports to have separate Authority soon : CAAB Chairman

Separate regulatory and operating bodies at HSIA to help fulfil FAA’s Category-1 status

- Ahmed Tanvir Shams Date: 02 May, 2024
CAAB intends Hazrat Shahjalal Int’l Airport’s T3 to be partially operational from October this year

Dhaka : Country's airports will soon be blessed by separate bodies of regulatory and operating authorities. The move will finally help Dhaka Airport fulfil  United States Federal Aviation Authority’s Category-1 status, required to operate direct flight operations between Bangladesh and the USA.

Currently, Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh is both the operator and regulator of all the country's airports, which defies the standards of the global body International Civil Aviation Organisation and the United States Federal Aviation Authority.  

Therefore, talking to The Bangladesh Monitor, Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman, Chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh, informed, the formation of a separate airport authority is underway, which will eventually look after airport facilitation.

Already, a committee has been formed to this effect, added Mafidur Rahman. However, there are some legal aspects. Hence, it will take some time, further said CAAB Chairman, adding, the move will be carried out in stages.

CAAB decided to meet the  long-awaited necessity, ahead of the ICAO audit scheduled to take place on October 24-27, 2024, claiming, it will be finalised soon after.

HSIA T3 handover

Almost 95 per cent works of the Terminal-3 at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is complete while 5 per cent work remains including testing, calibration and set up of some equipment. However, CAAB is determined to start operation of Terminal-3 by October 2024 partially.

M Mafidur Rahman, Chairman, CAAB

Hence, T3's handover by the contractor Aviation Dhaka Consortium to Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh will be taking place soon, assured the Chairman of CAAB. During the handover, ADC will train Civil Aviation engineers on the equipment and systems of the new terminal. 

However, by August or September 2024, CAAB will eventually handover the terminal to a Japanese Limited Company (Special Purpose Company). Until then, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, the sole ground handler of all the country's airports currently, will carry out ground handling responsibilities at the new terminal, explained CAAB Chairman. 

“We will handle air traffic control, security and immigration at the new terminal while Japan operates the rest. The latter could choose Biman to be the ground handler at the new terminal if it wishes,” informed Rahman.  

The earnings of the new terminal will be shared between Japan and Bangladesh, stressed CAAB Chairman. Aeronautical earnings will go to Bangladesh while the non-aeronautical earnings will be shared as per International Finance Corporation's guideline, the transactional advisor of the project.

It may be mentioned here, Dhaka Airport with its current two terminals (1 and 2) earned BDT 3200 crore in 2023. In 2024, CAAB Chairman estimates an increase in the airport's earnings, up to BDT 3500 crore. However, once T3 launches, the earnings should exceed BDT 5000 crore, claimed CAAB Chairman.

About T1 & T2

Once T3 runs in full-scale, CAAB Chairman shared his plans to use the old Terminal 1 and 2 for domestic and hajj flight operations, as IFC has informed him that the new terminal is enough to accommodate international passengers for the next 5-6 years.

Speaking of the other airports in the country, CAAB Chairman also shared his plans to gradually privatise all of those. The move will help optimise the airports, believes the Chairman. "A single ground handler alone can never handle an entire airport," concluded Mafidur Rahman.

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