Biman Bangladesh flew a trial flight on the Dhaka-Toronto route on Saturday, March 26, marking Bangladesh’s Independence Day. The non-stop flight touched down in Toronto after 18 hours and 35 minutes in the air.
Biman Bangladesh flight BG305 took off from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 11:04 local time in Dhaka; flew westward over India, Pakistan, Iran and much of Europe before crossing the North Atlantic and then finally landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport at 7:38 local time on March 27.
The return flight BG306 is scheduled to leave Toronto for Dhaka at 10:00 am local time on March 29, arriving in Dhaka at 12:15 pm local time the following day after flying 16 hours and 15 minutes eastbound.
However, this one-off flight isn’t a charter, neither is a repatriation flight. This single roundtrip flight was launched on an experimental basis, marking the special occasion of Independence Day.
“We’ve been hoping to begin the Canada flight for the last couple of years. We decided to launch it on Mar 26 to commemorate Independence Day after the Canadian authorities finalised everything.”State Minister, Mahbub Ali
The flight was operated by a Boeing 787-9, with registration S2-AJY. The 2.5 years old 787 Dreamliner is configured with 30 business class seats, 21 premium economy seats, and 247 economy class seats.
Mahbub Ali, Bangladesh’s State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism inaugurated the direct commercial flight on Saturday night, according to a press release of Biman Bangladesh Airlines. Representatives from the Canadian high commission in Dhaka were also present at the launch event.
Pre-flight COVID Testing
Although the Canadian government recently decided to drop all testing mandates for fully vaccinated international passengers, this rule will be brought into effect only from April 1.
All passengers on the inaugural flight were requested to carry a negative Covid-19 test taken no later than 72 hours prior to departure of the flight following the Canadian Travel Advisory.
Regular Flights Planned from June
Although the flag carrier had planned to begin regular flights from March 26, it has now been pushed to June, after some high-level technical matters and issues, including security, arose at the last moment.
“We received a mail stating they [Canadian authorities] require 12 weeks to automate the boarding process. Later, we requested them to let us make the first flight on the special day. It’s a prestige issue for us. We put enough thought behind it. It’s important to start it on Mar 26.”State Minister, Mahbub Ali
The Bangladeshi flag carrier decided to launch direct flights on the Dhaka-Toronto route addressing a long-standing demand of Bangladeshi expatriates living in Canada, said Mahbub. Approximately 100,000 Bangladeshi citizens are currently living in Canada. More than 8,000 Bangladeshi students are also studying in Canada. The airline has now planned to operate three weekly flights from June.