Third terminal of Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka awaits full opening

The authorities hope the terminal will be fully operational by October, a year after its soft opening

Published : 27 March 2024, 09:47 PM
Updated : 27 March 2024, 09:47 PM

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh or CAAB is gearing up for full opening of the third terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka this year, following the expectations set during its soft launch last year.

"We have plans to launch in October this year. And this terminal will be managed by Japan. They will operate it under PPP (Public-Private Partnership). That deal is taking some time to complete," said Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman, chairman of CAAB. 

The contractor will take over everything for the terminal on Apr 6, he said. "Their work is almost finished. We will try with limited resources to take it to the launching stage. We are short of manpower. Since it will be given to Japan, we didn't even recruit people.

"I’ve sent a proposal on the matter. I’m also talking with the ministry [of civil aviation] and other organisations. If Japan will launch it, it might take a little longer. We'll do it the way it's best."

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the terminal during its soft opening on Oct 7 last year. At that time, CAAB said that the third terminal would be fully operational in 2024. The aviation authority is moving towards that goal.


After the soft opening, there was speculation as to who would get the ground handling work of the third terminal.

Currently, Biman Bangladesh Airlines is providing ground handling services at the airport. They are also interested in taking over the ground handling of the third terminal.

Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Muhammad Faruk Khan said in a meeting with representatives of domestic and foreign airlines on Feb 25 that Biman has purchased equipment worth Tk 10 billion in the last one year to improve ground handling.

To meet the shortfall of manpower, regular recruitment programmes have been conducted, and proper trainings have been arranged for the new recruits.

Shafiul Azim, managing director and CEO of Biman, said they provide ground handling services for 60 to 70 flights operated at the airport every day now.

“We plan to expand ground handling services for more than 200 flights this year. We have 52 years of experience. There weren’t many things in terminals 1 and 2 beforehand. There has been improvement in that area gradually. Now we are working on a bigger scale.”

However, CAAB Chairman Mafidur said that Japan will decide who will be responsible for the ground handling of the third terminal.

“Biman is trying to improve. There has been some improvement. But Japan will check if Biman has the capacity to handle the number of passengers who will use the third terminal. Those who are eligible for the job will get it.”

“We want good service from them and good revenue. Doing this requires a good background. Now let Japan verify.”

The CAAB chairman said airlines are hoping to have multiple ground handlers. “Then the service will be improved, competitive and we will be able to handle more traffic here.”


An alternative runway along the third terminal has also been planned after 

Previous attempts to set up an alternative runway in 1996 and 2009 failed as it was deemed that a second runway was not possible at this airport.

According to the International Civil Aviation Authority or ICAO rules, there must be a minimum distance of 750 feet between two runways for aircraft to take off safely.

More space is required in case of flight taking off using instrument landing or ILS.

Mafidur said they have conducted a new feasibility study for an alternative runway.

“Now with the approval of the government, we hope that we can start the work by 2025. Once the proposal for the project is completed and funding is confirmed, we can start the work.”

The construction of the third terminal began in December 2019 after the government took up the project in 2017 with an estimated cost of around .

The cost is estimated to be around Tk 214 billion. Out of this, Japan Cooperation Agency (JICA) is giving Tk 161.41 billion as loan while the government is funding the rest.

Japan's Mitsubishi and Fujita, and South Korean company Samsung are working on the construction of this terminal through the Aviation Consortium Dhaka.