The representatives of foreign airlines in Bangladesh in a joint statement Sunday expressed surprise over media reports on their alleged involvement in a shady deal with the ex-state minister for civil aviation & tourism in arranging the hajj fare.
They totally refuted the allegation and said they never entered into any deal with the ex-state minister either individually or collectively.
They said: "During the past few days, we had been regularly mentioning in the print and electronic media stating that the fare for the ensuing hajj this year has been fixed by the Head offices of the individual airlines at UD$1300. The airline offices in Bangladesh do not have any authority to increase or lower a fare irrespective of any destination without the approval of their head office".
"The proposal was forwarded to respective Head Office. It was our head offices which fixed the hajj fare at US$1300. However, at the last meeting held with the ex-state minister, he fervently appealed to the foreign airlines to reduce the fare in the interest of the hajj pilgrims. At this request we approached our individual Head Offices and brought the fare down to US$1150 net except Saudi Arabian Airlines which did not agree to lowering fares and Saudi Arabian Airline's hajj fare still remains US$1300", the statement said.
"We simply honoured the interest of the people and at no stage we entered into any special deal with the ex-state minister. As such, the allegation brought against us is totally baseless and meaningless in this respect."
The signatories to the statement include: Shamshad Ahmed, Area Manager, Bangladesh Qatar Airways; Irfanul Huq, Manager-Sales & Marketing, Saudi Arabian Airlines; Qais Al Shatti, Senior Manager, Kuwait Airways; Hanif Zakaria, Sales Manager, Bangladesh, Emirates; Hidayatullah Baloch, Country Manager, Pakistan International Airlines; and Merwyn Fernandes, General Manager, Bangladesh, Gulf Air.