The travel agents urged the government to take necessary steps against airlines “ticket syndicate” and curb the abnormal rise in airfare on various routes including the Middle East.
They made the call at a press conference under the banner of Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) general members at Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka on Thursday.
He said that the crisis started in October 2021 and the airlines ticket prices broke all previous records in January, 2022.
“The normal one-way fare for an economy class ticket on Riyadh, Jeddah, Muscat and Dubai routes was Tk 30,000 to 35,000. But now it has gone up to Tk 100,000 to Tk 130,000,”Mahbub said.
“Air ticket price is less than Tk 40,000 on the same routes from our neighboring countries. Besides, although the distance of the return route to the same destinations is the same, the ticket fare is only Tk 20,000 to 25,000,” he said.
He said,“The passengers are not getting tickets even paying high. In these circumstances, the expatriates, expatriate workers, Umrah passengers, recruiting agencies, travel agencies, tour operators and others are facing heavy losses.”
Former ATAB president said the number of flights is lower than the demand while there is an increase in manpower exports to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates and alsoUmrah passengers. He also blamed lack of coordination between the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment, civil aviation and tourism and religious affairs ministry for the crisis.
The former ATAB president demanded declaration of open sky for next one year, bringing discipline in air ticket selling and marketing system and strengthening coordination between the ministries and departments concerned.
He sought disbanding the air ticket syndicate and effective initiatives by the CAAB to control air ticket prices.
The presser was also attended by former ATAB secretary general Abdus Salam Aref, Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) president Rafeuzzaman and other members of both organisations.
Members of Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) and Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) were also present.