New commercial airline Air Astra to launch Bangladesh flights on Nov 24

It will initially operate flights on Dhaka-Cox's Bazar-Dhaka and  Dhaka-Chattogram-Dhaka routes

Published : 15 Nov 2022, 07:07 PM
Updated : 15 Nov 2022, 07:07 PM

Air Astra, the latest private airline of Bangladesh, is set to launch commercial flights on Nov 24.

Md Mahbub Ali, state minister for civil aviation and tourism, inaugurated the new airline’s website at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on Tuesday.

From the launch date, Air Astra will operate three flights on Dhaka-Cox's Bazar-Dhaka route and two flights on Dhaka-Chattogram-Dhaka route. Officials said it will expand operations to all domestic routes.

The minimum one-way fare from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar has been fixed at Tk 4,799 while the minimum one-way fare from Dhaka to Chattogram will be Tk 3,694. 

Air Astra has already taken delivery of two ATR 72-600 aircraft in Dhaka and another couple of aircraft are scheduled to be delivered within 2022. By 2023, Air Astra's fleet will grow to 10 aircraft, according to the company.

“I believe domestic airlines will establish positive competition and cooperate with Air Astra and it will be helpful for passengers,” State Minister Mahbub said, adding that opportunities for passengers to select a domestic airline have increased.

Imran Asif, the CEO of the new airline, said, "Air Astra is proud to make its debut as a new airline in Bangladesh after almost nine years. We are determined to establish ourselves as the most preferred and reliable airline for the travellers through safe operation of flights and punctuality."

Harun Aur Rashid, a businessman living in Japan, is the main investor in Air Astra, while the US-Bangla Airlines is providing technical support. With the addition of the new airline, the number of private airlines currently operating in the country rose to three.

Air Astra is about to start its journey shortly after the Aviation Operators Association of Bangladesh, the organisation of private airlines of the country, said during an event in September that they have to face losses by operating domestic flights.

Currently two private airlines, US-Bangla and NOVOAIR, are operating flights on seven domestic and 11 international routes, catering to the needs of about 5,000 people everyday, according to AOAB data. The organisation expects this number to rise by 40 percent next year.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher