The two-year Covid restrictions have given rise to the onrush of passengers to tourist spots.
Homebound passengers who waited till the last minute to book flights are now having to count steep rises in airfares as the country gears up for a nine-day Eid holiday.
After two years of travel restrictions, demands for air tickets have soared, leaving airlines grappling with flight numbers.
According to airline sources and travel agencies, around 95% of the tickets from Dhaka to various destinations are already sold out.
However, return tickets after May 3 are being sold at prices higher than the usual fares.
The national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines and local airlines US Bangla and NovoAir are struggling to match the number of flights in line with demand.
They say that people are buying advance tickets for May 29-30 considering that Eid-ul-Fitr is likely to be observed on May 3.
Tickets to Cox’s Bazar, one of the most popular tourist spots, are going for steep prices, a passenger complained.
A one-way ticket booked on May 4, will cost passengers TK 9,400 to TK11,500 two and a half times more than what it cost just five days earlier.
Costs of tickets are similarly high for key cities such as Barisal and Chittagong.
Similarly, tickets to Kolkata have been priced at TK16, 969, and tickets to Bangkok and Maldives for that day are already sold out.
Nazimuddin, who likes to spend his Eid holidays with family, believes that airlines are taking advantage of the current situation.
However, aviation and travel experts are of the view that high fuel costs and the easing of the pandemic restrictions are behind the rise in demand.
According to them, a hike in the price of air tickets is likely as the price of jet fuel has skyrocketed from Tk61 to Tk100 per litre within a year.
However, the silver lining is that most countries now have lifted Covid-19 restrictions and the renewed travel demand will help boost the country’s aviation and tourism sectors.
Tourism booms at Eid
Eid-ul-Fitr is one of the major religious festivals for Muslims and Bangladesh sees a massive rush of homebound passengers during the holidays.
The country’s tourism sector is expected to see a major shift as it recovers from the losses of the last two years.
Over a 100,000 tourists are expected to visit Cox’s Bazar, according to the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporations (BPC) and the Hotel-Motel associations.
According to them, 80% of the rooms have been booked ahead of the Eid holidays.
Another 400,000 tourists are expected to travel to other popular destinations of the country while about 500,000 are likely to visit neighboring India.
In a bid to cater to the demands of the public, the airlines have sought permission to operate additional flights to cope with the increased pressure on passengers.
NovoAir and US Bangla, two private airlines, have sought permission to operate 16 additional daily flights from Dhaka to Saidpur, Jessore, Rajshahi and Barisal.
However, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) is yet to clear the matter.