Migrant workers continue protests in Dhaka over air tickets to Saudi Arabia

Several hundred workers joined the demonstration outside the office of Saudia, the national carrier of Saudi Arabia, at the capital’s Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Kawran Bazar from 10am and called it off around 12pm Tuesday.

The workers also blocked the Sonargaon crossing, halting traffic for about an hour. The situation turned normal after the police assured the workers of finding a solution with the airline authorities.

The workers had staged protests at the capital’s Kawran Bazar, Motijheel and outside the National Press Club on Monday.

Saudi-based worker Jahirul Alam who joined the demonstration said, “I need to rejoin work at Jeddah within Sept 30 to save my job. I also have a return pass but the Saudi airlines is saying now that they can’t issue tickets. What will happen to me?”

Saudi Arabia resumed flights on international routes on a limited scale from Sept 15. Saudia has sought permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) to operate flights from Dhaka.

State-run Bangladesh Biman Airlines had similarly asked the Saudi Arabian immigration authorities for permission to operate flights to the Middle Eastern countries.

CAAB has approved Saudia to operate two weekly flights but the Saudi Arabian immigration authorities denied Biman permission to run flights.

In a tit-for-tat, CAAB later decided to revoke its permission to Saudi Arabia airlines, sparking the protests.

The workers have been demonstrating in front of the airlines office since Saturday.

The passengers claimed that the airline is also charging additional Tk 25,000 each to reissue a ticket.


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