Bangladesh eager to resume air cargo flights to U.K.

Australia’s recent lifting of a ban on air cargo from the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh, prompted Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon to express optimism that the U.K. would follow suit. The ban was imposed after experts from the U.K. and U.S. inspected the Dhaka airport in late 2015 and found, “serious security lapses and risks” according to sources quoted by The Daily Star.

The Bangladeshi government hired the British firm Redline Aviation Security Ltd. to upgrade security systems and protocols at the airport. According to Menon, the Bangladeshi government has since taken all the necessary measures to address the concerns of the British security experts.

Meeting the standards imposed by the U.K. Department of Transportation (DOT) has been costly and time-consuming for Bangladesh. In addition to bringing the U.K.-based aviation security company on board for US$9.3 million, the government approved an initial budget of $11.4 million for new equipment at the Dhaka airport. According to The Daily Star, this equipment includes two sets of explosive detection systems, four sets of flap barriers, five barrier gates, six sets of liquid explosive detection systems, eight sets of dual view x-ray scanning machines, nine sets of under vehicles scanning machines, 14 sets of dual view x-ray scanning machines for cabin baggage and 14 sets of explosive trace detectors.

As of May 24, the ban imposed by the U.K. DOT remains in place, however a notice posted on the gov.uk website states that the ministry is working with its Bangladeshi counterpart to improve standards for all aspects of aviation security. Since May 5, the airport has been designated as an EU Aviation security validated Regulated Agent (RA3), which allows it to fly cargo to EU countries and, in the near future, hopefully the U.K. as well.

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