Monday, 27 March, 2023

Skyrocketing Fare for Flight on Dhaka-KL Route

Migrant workers hit hard

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 7 February, 2023 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Malaysia-bound migrant workers are facing a challenging situation as the airfare on the Dhaka-Kuala Lumpur route has increased dramatically due to the growing pressure of passengers.

The cost of a ticket has increased from Tk 20,000 to Tk 25,000 to Tk 80,000 to Tk 110,000 in just six months. The airfare was much lower prior to the reopening of the Malaysian labour market for Bangladesh.

Migrant workers attribute the rise in airfare to excessive greed on the part of the airlines.

“The price of air tickets on the Dhaka-Kuala Lumpur route is now three times higher than the price of July-August last year. As a result, we are forced to purchase tickets at higher prices. I do not see any other explanation for such a situation than the excessive greed of airline carriers,” said Nurunnabi, an aspirant migrant worker.

There are currently five airlines operating direct flights on the Dhaka-Kuala Lumpur route: Biman Bangladesh Airlines, US-Bangla, Malaysian Airlines, Air Asia, and Malindo Air.

Over 50 flights carry passengers between the two cities every week, and other airlines such as Thai Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Himalaya Airlines, Indigo Airlines, and Cathay Pacific also carry passengers on this route with stops at various locations.

According to the Biman Bangladesh Airlines website, most of their flights on this route have sold out until February 22. The lowest roundtrip ticket price for economy class was Tk 1,05,338. The lowest prices for US-Bangla Airlines tickets for February 10 and 12 were Tk 86,062 and Tk 80,856respectively.

No economy class tickets for Malaysian Airlines on this route were available until February 15, with roundtrip tickets for business class costing Tk 1,13,208 for February 10 and 15. The price of air tickets for the third week of February is shown to be a little lower.

Travel agents attribute the increase in airfare to the reopening of the Malaysian labor market. President of the Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB), SN Manzur Murshed, said the airfare on the Dhaka-Kuala Lumpur route should never be more than Tk 20,000 to Tk 22,000.

He claimed that the airlines' reason for the price increase, citing the rise in the price of the dollar and jet fuel, is unreasonable. Many workers are unable to buy tickets at these high prices and are returning home empty-handed.

Approximately 20,000 workers are migrating to Malaysia every month, while 5,000 to 6,000 workers are obtaining BMET clearance certificates to do so.

The airlines have acknowledged that the fares have increased due to the high pressure of passengers and the rise in the price of the dollar and jet fuel.

A private airline general manager noted that the demand is higher than the number of seats available, and the impact of reducing the number of flights on this route a few years ago is now visible.

General Manager (Public Relations) of US-Bangla Airlines, Kamrul Islam, said the demand is several times higher than the seat capacity of all airlines on the Dhaka-Kuala Lumpur route.

When asked about the solution to this crisis, he suggested that the government could increase the number of flights.